Coulomb’s America Expands the Largest Networked Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles in the World

Coulomb Technologies today announced it will deliver free home and public ChargePoint® Networked Charging Stations for electric vehicles throughout the United States.

The ChargePoint America program will provide nearly 5000 charging stations to program participants in nine regions in the United States: Austin, Texas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Fla., Sacramento, Calif., the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area, Redmond, Wash., and Washington DC and is a strategic partnership with three leading automobile brands including, Ford, Chevrolet and smart USA.

Coulomb currently has the largest established base of networked charging stations worldwide with more than 700 units shipped to more than 130 customers in 2009. Installation of the ChargePoint charging stations for electric cars will begin immediately.

The $37 million ChargePoint America program is made possible by a $15M grant funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the Department of Energy. ChargePoint charging stations are available now for installation in all nine designated regional metropolitan areas of the US. More than 1000 new public charging stations will be installed by December 2010, adding to the existing ChargePoint Network. The remaining stations will be installed by September 2011.

In support of the ChargePoint America program, three automakers have committed to deliver electric vehicles in designated US regions. The Chevrolet Volt, the Ford Transit Connect Electric and Ford Focus Electric through the “Ford Blue Oval ChargePoint Program”, and the smart fortwo electric drive will be introduced along with this program.

“The Obama Administration has set significant and considerable goals for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the coming years,” said Richard Lowenthal, CEO of Coulomb Technologies. “This grant will bring thousands of networked charging stations to nine US regions that are slated to receive the first electric vehicles from our automobile partners.

These charging stations will build upon our already growing and established network of infrastructure and will accelerate the deployment of public and private charging infrastructure which will in turn encourage consumers to buy electric vehicles. Our Department of Energy grant, also known as the stimulus bill, was funded to provide jobs for Americans. Our products are built and installed with American labor. Every time we ship a ChargePoint charging station, three Americans go to work for a day.”

ChargePoint America will offer both home and public charging stations to individuals and businesses. Businesses interested in receiving public charging stations should visit the ChargePoint America web site and sign up by completing the application form.

Individuals interested in purchasing an EV can sign up at to receive more information about qualifying to receive a home charging station. Additionally, the ChargePoint America web site provides a way to suggest public locations for charging stations.

ChargePoint Network stations are network-enabled, capable of reporting energy usage and communicating over the network with Software Application Services and Network Support Services to activate capabilities such as:

* Providing open access for all drivers using any standards-based RFID card
* Generating revenue for station owners to offset electricity and maintenance costs
* Sending SMS or Email notifications to drivers for charging complete or interruptions in charging
* Controlling access to eliminate energy theft and to enhance safety
* Integrating with the utility Smart Grid for demand side management and preferred pricing

Charging stations owners can set their own prices for charging through the Flex Billing™ system. The Flex Billing system enables station owners to set pricing as a function of time of day, calendar date, and driver – much like a parking meter. Those same stations can also be configured to provide "free" access to electric car drivers.

Coulomb’s ChargePoint® Network, is open to all drivers of plug-in vehicles and provides authentication, management, and real-time control for the networked electric vehicle charging stations. The network of electric vehicle charging stations is accessible to all plug-in drivers by making a toll free call to the 24/7 number on each charging station, or signing up for a ChargePoint Network monthly access plan and obtaining a ChargePass™ smart card.

Other future payment options include using any smart (RFID) credit/debit card to authorize a session or using a standard credit or debit card at a remote payment station (RPS) to pay for charging sessions. To locate available charging stations, visit and click “Find Stations”.

Mapping Out an Electric-Car Future

Companies are starting to compete to provide services, but a dominant approach and standard have yet to emerge.  Anton Klima is a self-described electric car fanatic. The Los Angeles television cameraman is already on his second electric vehicle, a battery-powered BMW Mini E. To make sure he’s carbon-free, he charges the car from solar panels on the roof of his Hollywood Hills home.

But when he’s out and about, Klima has to make do with a patchy network of public chargers left over from California’s original electric-car campaign a decade ago. Though he can now track down chargers with an iPhone app, the shape of the plugs has changed, so Klima has to carry three adapters to be sure he can power up. "After a while you get used to [the hassles]," Klima says.

U.S. policymakers can’t count on that kind of dedication as they map out the electric-car future. President Barack Obama aims to get a million electric cars and plug-in hybrids on U.S. roads by 2015 to ease U.S. reliance on imported oil and cut carbon emissions. The first two mass-market electrics, Nissan’s Leaf and the Chevy Volt, are set to hit the streets this fall.

The problem will be finding places to charge all those vehicles. To eliminate "range anxiety"—EV-speak for the fear of being stranded with drained batteries—drivers will need to know they can plug in at shopping centers, restaurants, or parking meters.

"Two chargers are needed for each car—one where you live and one where you work," says Richard Lowenthal, chief executive officer of Coulomb Technologies, a California-based maker of electric car charging stations. Building that infrastructure, he estimates, "may be a $12 billion industry."

Recognizing the need for charging stations, Democratic and Republican House and Senate members on May 27 proposed legislation to expand tax credits for the installation of charging equipment as well as electric vehicle purchases. The measure would direct the Energy Dept. to award $800 million in grants to support charging facilities for 700,000 electric vehicles within six years.

Coulomb is one of at least a half-dozen companies aiming to win some of that cash and build the fuel stations of the 21st century. Lowenthal plans to install 4,600 chargers in nine U.S. metropolitan areas by the end of 2011 at a cost of $2,000-$5,000 each. The company also aims to offer smartphone apps and navigation software that will guide drivers to the nearest available charger.

Arizona-based ECOtality has won a $100 million federal grant and is working with Nissan to install more than 11,000 chargers in five U.S. states within three years. Nissan is also working with a company called AeroVironment to put charging equipment in homes, and it hopes to build a network of public chargers as well.

Better Place, based in Palo Alto, Calif., is taking a different approach: Instead of simply charging cars, the company plans to open stations where drained batteries can be swapped for charged ones. The startup expects to introduce its service next year in Israel and Denmark; Hawaii and the San Francisco Bay Area will likely be its first U.S. markets.

SemaConnect, based in Annapolis, Md., has developed a $2,500 wall-mounted charger for public use. The company has sold the devices to three locations in the Washington area. At one, a hotel in Annapolis, Md., Russell Rankin charges a fleet of 10 electric cars that he uses to shuttle guests to local attractions. Rankin says he plans to order more chargers as his company grows. "Our expansion plans are facilitated by these chargers," he says.

Utilities are preparing for the shift as well. While they say they should be able to handle the extra load, upgrades are needed. These include transformers to keep neighborhood circuits from overloading if multiple cars are plugged in at once, smart meters to monitor how vehicles charge, and rewiring older homes to handle 220-volt charging devices, says Pedro Pizarro, an executive vice-president at Southern California Edison, California’s largest utility. "We need to know when people are charging, what vehicles they’re charging," he says.

Some experts caution against moving too fast. Mark Duvall, director of electric transportation for the Electric Power Research Institute, an industry group, believes it may be hard for the U.S. to reach Obama’s target. He predicts sales are unlikely to top 15,000 electric cars annually before 2013. "If you build some solid gold-plated infrastructure before you understand what the public wants or needs," he says, "you’re going to squander a lot of resources."

ChargePoint America will provide 4,600 public and private ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations by October 2011. Coulomb will work together with its distribution and industry partners to evaluate the demand from the respective geographic regions and allocate charging stations based on this and other factors. The ChargePoint America project will collect data characterizing vehicle use and charging patterns, and Purdue University and Idaho National Labs will analyze the data.

Coulomb Technologies is the leader in electric vehicle charging station infrastructure with networked charging stations installed in municipalities and organizations worldwide. Coulomb provides a vehicle-charging infrastructure, with an open system driver network: the ChargePoint Network provides multiple web-based portals for Hosts, Fleet managers, Drivers, and Utilities, and ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations ranging in capability from 120 Volt to 240 Volt AC charging and up to 500 Volt DC charging.