Charging towards an electric future

Tuesday, 10 November, 2009

ChargePoint has announced it has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Coulomb Technologies, a leader in networked electric vehicle charging stations and infrastructure, to bring the ChargePoint Network developed technology to Australia.

With the first mass-produced electric vehicle expected to be launched in the Australian market next year, there will be a demand for a charging station infrastructure and consumer-based services. Electric vehicle commuters will be able to charge their car using the ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations in their home garage or via remote locations including shopping centres and parking stations.

ChargePoint is currently in advanced discussions with a number of government and private sector partners for pilot projects in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, which are all due to commence in the first half of 2010. The pilot projects will be used to evaluate charging behaviour, energy grid load analysis and environmental and societal impacts.

ChargePoint has two interrelated businesses: a product sales business and a service business. Public and private sector partners such as local councils and car-park owners will be able to buy charging stations as capital equipment in a business-to-business model. The charging stations will also be sold to automotive dealers, which will enable electric vehicle commuters access to the ChargePoint Network.

Many electric vehicle drivers will rely on public charging stations to ‘top up’ in convenient locations. Public charging access will be sold to drivers of plug-in vehicles on a single-use, as-needed basis by calling the number listed on the charging station, or as an online subscription service in a business-to-consumer model, with RFID Smart Cards available to access public energy. Subscribers will also be able to see how much petrol and greenhouse gas emissions they’ve saved on the ChargePoint Network Driver web-based portal.

Coulomb Technologies has developed charging stations for local councils, utility companies, green office buildings and parking garages to allow electric vehicle drivers to charge their electric vehicles wherever they live, work and shop. The company has developed a scalable, smart charging infrastructure that provides partners with a recurring income stream through public charging stations. Its comprehensive technology solution also provides electric utility companies with a means to control the load that plug-in vehicles put on the grid and a means to compute and implement taxes on electricity as a transportation fuel.

Coulomb already provides electric charging facilities in the US and Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Luke Grana, Chief Executive Officer of ChargePoint, said: “Coulomb Technologies is the only company we have found that has examined every facet of electric vehicle charging technology and developed the most comprehensive solution for partners.”

Curtin University’s Senior Research Fellow in smart grids and electric vehicles, Dr Andrew Simpson, says not only will consumers benefit from electric vehicle transport, this technology will also improve the management of network loads for energy providers.

“Numerous studies have shown that there is the capacity for many electric vehicles to charge at off-peak times which can utilise grid assets more effectively. This means cheap energy can be sold to electric motorists through infrastructure such as the ChargePoint Network.

“There is a heightened awareness that electric transport is the way forward - electric cars are more sustainable, they will be affordable and can potentially emit zero emissions. The increasing support of governments, energy companies and consumers will result in the rapid expansion of this market in the coming years,” he said.

The average Australian car costs about $10.00 to drive per 100 kilometres; with an electric vehicle, it will cost only $2.00 to drive per 100 kilometres. ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations range in capability, from single-phase 240 V at 15 A charging, to the faster three-phase charging. A number of car manufacturers are anticipated to release their electric vehicles by 2012.

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