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City Partners with PlugOp to Add Smarter EV Charging Stations 

Cory Miller, founder and CEO of PlugOp Technologies, came up with the idea in 2022 as a master’s student at The Ohio State University.

Two new dual-port electric vehicle charging stations have been installed in the Center and Wayne streets parking lot in Downtown Hilliard as part of the Hilliard City Lab initiative to ensure our community is more sustainable moving forward.

The City has partnered with PlugOp Technologies, a startup specializing in smart software solutions for EV charging, resulting in a more seamless experience for residents. Earlier this year, the City budgeted funds to replace the previously damaged, outdated chargers with new network-accessible stations that can charge up to four cars at a time.  

The PlugOp chargers do not require an app on your phone. Just simply scan the QR code and it takes you to a screen where you pay and set your charging preferences.

PlugOp allows users to input charging preferences, such as when they plan on unplugging. The software uses this information to optimally split and schedule the charger’s power to each electric vehicle to make sure everyone’s charging needs are met. When a car is plugged in to one of these units, the screen displays a QR code, which users can scan and pay for through Apple Pay, Google Pay, or a credit card. The charge will be 20 cents per-kilowatt hour, so an average electric vehicle can fully charge for around $10-15.

The Hilliard Development Corporation approved a grant for PlugOp Technologies to build out their testing and app development with the new chargers, paving the way for the company to partner with the Hilliard City Lab tech initiative.  

Cory Miller, founder and CEO of PlugOp Technologies, came up with the idea in 2022 as a master’s student at The Ohio State University. His vision came to life with the help of TechStars Columbus Powered by The Ohio State University, a business accelerator program designed to drive growth and investment in the Columbus region.  

“My research at Ohio State was for electric vehicle technologies, grid price reduction, and all things electrification as this industry continues to evolve,” Miller said. “What we see as the long-term vision of Plug-Op is information gathering on electricity consumption.” 

Miller, an Upper Sandusky native, says his company will collect and aggregate data from these EV charging stations and feed it to utility companies so they can better understand how to distribute power to the grid in a more efficient manner. PlugOp Technologies worked with Big Kitty Labs, another Hilliard City Lab partner, to design and develop the software. With the new setup, the City handles connection costs, while users are charged based on electricity usage per kilowatt hour.  

Miller will use the energy consumption data from Hilliard’s electric charging stations to improve his product in hopes of making a larger impact on the industry.

“These new charging stations and the partnership with Cory and PlugOp Technologies is another example of what the vision of Hilliard City Lab is all about,” said Duane Powell, Chief Information Officer for the City of Hilliard. “We offer the infrastructure and resources to allow these start-up tech companies to thrive, while benefiting the Hilliard community and providing long-term value to our residents.” 

Miller says the cost to charge a vehicle is 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, a very competitive rate that simply covers the City’s costs to power the units. Charging times vary, and PlugOp is working with the City to replace the DC fast-charging station that can charge a standard electric car at an even faster rate.  

“What really attracted me to this project and Hilliard City Lab is how connected the City is and how many resources they offer to different parts of the community,” said Miller. “Hilliard leadership has allowed us to cut a lot of the red tape and push things forward quickly, which is essential for startups like ours.” 

As a new Hilliard City Lab company, PlugOp Technologies will continue to evolve their EV technology in a new co-working space at the Hilliard City Lab Tech Incubator with Converge Technologies on Lyman Drive. The two new dual charging stations in the Center and Wayne Streets parking lots can currently charge up to four vehicles at a time. When a car is plugged in to one of these units, the screen displays a QR code, which users can scan and pay for through Apple Pay, Google Pay, or a credit card. 

Miller hopes to roll out more of his smart charging station throughout Hilliard soon, starting with new units in the parking lots at the Hilliard Municipal Building, 3800 Municipal Way, and the Hilliard Community Center, 3800 Veterans Memorial Drive. The long-term goal for PlugOp Technologies is to work alongside utility companies and retail locations to optimize the EV charging experience for both users and distributors. 

“Electric vehicles are the future, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of charging innovation right here in Hilliard,” said Miller. “Our partnership with City leaders and the Hilliard City Lab initiative will continue to take our product to the next level.”   

For more information about Hilliard City Lab visit www.hilliardohio.gov/city-lab. You can learn more about PlugOp Technologies at www.plugop.com.   

The new electric charging stations are located at the Center and Wayne streets parking lot near Hilliard’s Station Park in Downtown Hilliard.

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