Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ecotality's EV Project Gives Coulomb's ChargePoint a Run for Its Money

Last month I wrote about how Coulomb Technologies' ChargePoint America program plans to install 4,600 EV charging stations across nine metro areas in the next several years. So far, however, the EV stations have been geographically limited, especially in the Puget Sound area. Long story short, it's going to be hard to ease questions of "range anxiety" that many potential EV buyers will have if the only available ChargePoint stations are at Bellevue City Hall, UW Bothell, and a high-end condo building in Downtown Seattle (residents only). That's hardly the way to expand a network and create the necessary perception that plugging in your electric car will be as seamless and convenient as filling up at any gas station.

Luckily, that necessity breeds invention, and Ecotality's EV Project has filled in to give Coulomb's ChargePoint America program a real run for its money. The EV Project has a much larger budget, having landed a $99 million grant from the DOE - nearly three times the size of the grant awarded to ChargePoint.

The EV Project began in August 2009 and will be completed by the end of 2012 and takes a markedly different approach to the implementation of EV infrastructure than Coulomb. Rather than focusing on installing public charging stations, the EV Project is assisting customers who bought the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf by providing then with over 8,300 home charging systems. Not to be outdone in terms of public visibility, Ecotality is also installing 15,000 public charging stations. The project spans six states - WA, OR, CA, AZ, Tennessee (odd choice, although they've installed some of Ecotality's charging stations at the Cracker Barrel!), and DC.

Courtesy of The EV Project
Ecotality's EV Project also has the advantage of having major funding outside of the federal government. Swiss power grid corporation ABB just agreed to invest $10 million in the EV Project.

The bulk of the 15,000 plus residential and commercial charging stations will be primarily on the West Coast, as well as Texas and Tennessee. Just where will you be able to soon find your Ecotality charging station? One of the coolest things to come out of Ecotality's EV Project has been the official maps it has released showing station density in several cities.


According to a September press release, Ecotality plans to install 1,100 charging stations in four Oregon cities: Portland, Euguene, Salem, and Corvallis. The stations seem to be logically aligned along Portland's major arterials, like Burnside Street, Sandy Blvd, MLK, and the downtown core.

Map of Portland charging stations

The EV Project plans to install 1,200 charging stations in Washington State, which will be a great complement to plans already underway to create an electric highway on I-5. With the help of planners at the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), Ecotality has finally released a detailed map of charging station density in the Seattle area.

Via: GigaOMElectric Vehicles

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