On Sep. 27, 2012, SemaConnect had a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house to celebrate the opening of their new headquarters in Bowie, Md. During the ceremony, Jill Sorenson, the Executive Director of the Baltimore Electric Vehicle Initiative (BEVI), Mahi Reddy, the CEO of SemaConnect, and Rushern Baker, the County Executive of Prince George’s County, all gave brief speeches. They then cut the green ribbon, admitting guests to the facility. Outside were four of SemaConnect’s ChargePro electric vehicle (EV) chargers, and all were servicing cars: Chevy Volts, a Nissan LEAF, and even a Fisker Karma, an electric car made in Norway.
Inside the building were offices and conference rooms. There was also a production and engineering area, where the charging stations are made. Here they are assembled, calibrated, and tested. There are two major types: wall-mounted chargers for garages, and pole-mounted chargers for parking lots. SemaConnect’s ChargePro Level 2 charging stations use the J1772 connector, which is an industry standard established by the Society of Automotive Engineers. That means the ChargePro can be hooked up to almost any car, including foreign-made cars like the Fisker.
SemaConnect was incorporated in 2008. In Annapolis, it was part of a technology incubator which helps small technology companies grow. As such, SemaConnect shared its office space with three other start-ups. Early on, SemaConnect partnered with the BEVI, a non-profit dedicated to encouraging the use of electric vehicles and educating the public about them. According to Reddy, there are now electric vehicles in the U.S., India, Europe and China. He said, “One out of ten new car buyers are seriously considering an electric vehicle.”
SemaConnect also worked with Maryland’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program (EVIP), which was funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. During this period, they installed EV chargers in the parking lot of the Fitzgerald Apartments — the first EV chargers in Baltimore. In 2011, SemaConnect became a national company when they started selling and installing stations from Washington, D.C. to Hawaii. SemaConnect develops and produces smart commercial-grade electric vehicle charging stations and software for station owners. Currently, SemaConnect is focused on commercial sales only, although they plan to move into the home EV charging market in the near future.
SemaConnect leased its new headquarters from St. John Properties this year. They began moving their equipment and personnel there in June. Their new headquarters houses their general business and production teams. SemaConnect also has a national sales team deployed throughout the country, in major cities like New York City, Seattle, Los Angeles and Atlanta.
In addition to EV chargers, SemaConnect offers software called SemaCharge, that can be used by both drivers and the station owners. It offers such features as on-line bill pay, a charging station locator, sustainability reporting, and smart card authentication. The smart card is another SemaConnect product; it works like an EZ-Pass card and starts the charging process. It is linked to the customer’s credit card account, and withdraws money from that account in $20.00 increments. As charging a car costs between 50 cents and two dollars per hour, $20.00 can last awhile.