Who is Coulomb Technologies, Inc.?
Coulomb Technologies is the leader in electric vehicle charging station infrastructure with networked charging stations installed in municipalities and organizations worldwide. We provide 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. We are based in Campbell, CA and have distribution partners located across the United States and globally.
Why would someone want to own charging stations now?
Ten major automobile manufacturers have announced their plans to start shipping electric vehicles in 2010 and 2011. Electric cars allow us to have a cleaner environment, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and operate vehicles at a lower cost than current gas-powered vehicles. Many people purchasing an electric vehicle will arrange to have a charging station installed at their homes. Those who do not have a garage or dedicated parking space will need public charging infrastructure to charge their vehicle. Also, a major concern for the adoption of 100% electric vehicles is a concept called “range anxiety”: the fear that your vehicle will not have enough electricity to make it home for charging. Drivers need charging stations in public garages, workplaces, sports venues, hospital parking lots, retail stores, restaurants, cultural or recreation centers, and any other location where they will park their cars for long periods of time. The ChargePoint America program gives you, the potential station owner, the opportunity to own charging stations at no cost and to be part of the leading EV charging infrastructure: the ChargePoint Network. You now have the opportunity to start offering EV charging access to your employees, customers, community, etc. You will be viewed as a leader in this EV revolution and further differentiate yourself from your competition.
What are Level 1 and Level 2 charging?
The level of the charging refers to the voltage used by the charging station. In the US, standard outlets are at 110 – 120 volts. All Level1 charging is done at this voltage. Depending on the car and the level of charge on the battery, Level 1 charging can take as much as 8 – 16 hours to fully charge. Most people consider that a charge time of 4 – 6 hours would be optimal for overnight or long-length charging. This is possible with Level 2 (220 – 240 volts) charging. The ChargePoint America Program is offering only Level 2 charging stations.
Why networked charging stations?
Networked charging stations provide many attractive capabilities to drivers of electric vehicles as well as owners of charging stations. The networking allows a driver to identify where charging stations are located and even which charging stations are currently being used. Any charging station attached to a network can transmit information about the charging session including: start time, time of completion, ground fault interruption, or even a disruption in service from vandalism or utility demand response. Networked charging stations have the ability to email or send SMS messages to a driver alerting him or her about their charging session status. For station owners, networked charging is very valuable; for example if you have charging stations at multiple locations, you can see charging status, station utilization, energy delivered, and many more parameters across your inventory of charging stations. You can quickly identify and resolve charging station issues, and all networked charging stations can be remotely accessed by the owner or by support staff at Coulomb Technologies to resolve issues avoiding costly trips to the site.
Do the ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations work with any electric vehicle?
The ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations will work with any electric vehicle on the market. There is an industry standard for Level II charging: the SAE J1772™ connector that all vehicles on the market will use. Even for older electric vehicles, charging at ChargePoint stations is still possible. So if you’re planning to own one of the ChargePoint America program vehicles (the Chevrolet Volt, the Ford Transit Connect and Ford Focus Electric BMW ActiveE, or the smart fortwo electric drive), you will be able to charge at any ChargePoint stations and utilize all the functions of the network.
What criteria will you use to determine who receives free charging stations?
We are expecting a significant demand in every region. The first criterion is whether we believe the charging station will be used in the desired location. We are expected to provide the DOE with extensive usage data on every charging station in the program. The second criterion will be proximity around the specific region. We want charging station installations spread out throughout the entire metropolitan region. The third criterion is when the station owners are able to take delivery and install their station(s). Examples of good locations: large parking garages in centrally located areas, office parks with many employees, some of whom would potentially purchase an electric vehicle, airports or train stations with a lot of traffic, shopping malls or restaurants, high profile places like sporting venues, monuments or recreation areas (golf courses, marinas). The objective is to get highly visible, publically accessible, geographically dispersed locations from which we can provide the DOE and our automobile partners a lot of data on the usage of these charging stations.
How were the ten program regions selected?
There were a number of factors that went into the decision of which regions would take part in this program. First, each region had to be on at least one of the participating automakers list of target regions where their vehicles will be for sale during the program period. Second, the regions themselves had to write a letter to support the grant proposal. Third, major metropolitan areas that were geographically dispersed were considered.
How large are the program regions?
The regions were selected around major metropolitan areas across the United States. Each region is defined within one of these metro/city areas: Austin/San Antonio, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando/Tampa, Sacramento, San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area, Bellevue/Redmond, Washington DC, Boston, and Southern Michigan from Grand Rapids to Lansing to Ann Arbor to Detroit, but this depends on the region. The ChargePoint America team will, at its discretion, determine the range for each specific region.
Who pays for installation of the charging stations?
Charging station installation, in most regions, will be paid for by the station owner, unless there are local incentives available in your region.
Are there special facilities requirements for installing a charging station?
Yes. Prior to accepting your application for charging stations, we will arrange to send someone to your facility to perform a site survey. This will give you enough information to determine how much an installation would cost and whether your location is suitable.
Who provides maintenance for the charging station?
The local Coulomb Technologies participating distribution partner is responsible for maintenance of the charging station. This includes being available to provide on-site assistance to resolve critical issues.
Who pays shipping expenses for the charging station?
Coulomb Technologies will cover the cost of shipping charging stations under the ChargePoint America program. The charging stations will be shipped at the most economical rate. If expedited shipment is required, the station owner will pay for shipping.
Who owns the charging station at the end of the program?
Ownership of the charging stations belongs to the property owners where the charging stations are installed. It is expected that these owners will continue to provide charging services after the program is completed.
What is the warranty on the charging stations offered through this program?
Standard warranty of 1-year parts and labor applies. Coulomb Technologies will provide an additional parts warranty at no charge throughout the program period (through December 2013). The labor warranty will be one year. If customers need on-site support beyond the labor warranty period, they will be encouraged to purchase extended warranty support from our distribution partners who are involved in the fulfillment of the charging stations.
Can charging station owners require drivers to pay for using their charging stations under the ChargePoint America program?
Absolutely. While it is expected that some owners will provide free charging under the program, we expect the majority of owners to charge fees to use their charging stations. While it is not allowed for owners to charge per kWH, they can set a fixed fee, a time per hour fee, a monthly all-inclusive fee, or a number of other fee structures. We expect owners to generate their own business cases to determine the fee level that makes financial sense to them.
Will municipalities be required to pay any service, network or transaction fees through the ChargePoint America program?
There are two types of fees associated with running a public electric charging infrastructure. The Network Standard Service Fee is the monthly fee for any charging station connected to the ChargePoint Network. Being connected to the ChargePoint Network is important so the station owner has visibility to all of his/her charging stations whether they are in one location or multiple locations. In addition, you (or we) can troubleshoot your charging station from a distance and rectify problems without needing to be onsite. Through the ChargePoint Network portals you have access to significant statistics of your charging stations for utilization, energy usage, etc. Transaction fees are charged to the owner when the station is used to generate revenue for the station owner. These are costs associated with billing, credit card validation and processing, and other administrative costs. Up until December 2013, Coulomb Technologies will pay the Network Standard Service Fee for all participating owners from program funds. This applies as long as the owner meets the contractual commitments, including meeting the installation date and providing the data required by the DOE. Transaction fees will be applied during the entire program. Transaction fees are only charged to owners who require drivers to pay for station use, as there are costs to Coulomb Technologies for these transactions and the station owner is presumably making a profit on the use.
What kind of charging station data is required from municipalities as part of the program?
While charging station data requirements are not completely defined, most, if not all data will be obtained directly from the ChargePoint Network. The DOE is interested in station utilization: amount of energy used, when the stations are being used, etc. A municipality will need to authorize Coulomb Technologies to collect anonymous data from their charging stations for use in analyzing the program.
What agreement does a municipality need to sign?
There is a standard ChargePoint America agreement that needs to be signed by a municipality receiving charging stations. This agreement will list the terms and conditions of the acquisition and will need to be signed prior to final application acceptance. In addition, the owner will need to sign Coulomb Technologies’ standard Master Services Subscription Agreement.
What is the charging station application process?
To begin the application process, please check your eligibility by clicking here. An important part of the application request will be to submit a prioritized list of charging station locations. We want to understand why the locations you suggest should be accepted into the program. If your application is approved, a ChargePoint America team member will contact you to arrange a site survey.
How many charging stations can a municipality request on the application?
There is no limit to the number of charging stations that can be requested through the program. Please understand that we want an even distribution across key sites in a metropolitan area. We want to make sure that there is a fair distribution of charging stations among requesting parties. We certainly cannot guarantee any specific number of stations awarded to a single entity; this will depend on the overall demand. Also, the primary objective of the program is to create as large of an electric vehicle-charging infrastructure as possible. If you already have plans to purchase charging stations or are thinking about a purchase, the program will be an effective way to increase your number of stations.
OK. What is the catch?
There is no catch. The Federal government through the DOE wants to create an electric vehicle-charging infrastructure so that people will feel comfortable with acquiring electric cars. Electric cars are good for the environment, as they emit no harmful greenhouse or noxious gases. They reduce the country’s reliance on foreign oil, and they cost less to operate than gas powered vehicles. The new electric cars coming at the end of this year are robust, family size vehicles that should be very popular. You, the potential station owner can lead the way to a cleaner, healthier tomorrow.