There's more good news for electric-vehicle enthusiasts. Coulomb Technologies, a Campbell, Calif., startup that is a leading maker of electric-vehicle charging stations, recently announced that it plans to install more than 4,600 charging stations in nine metropolitan regions across the United States.
The $37 million "ChargePoint America" program is being funded in part by a $15 million Department of Energy grant. More than 1,000 new public charging stations will be installed by December, with the remaining 3,600 to be installed by October 2011.
The number of stations per city has not yet been determined, but California is expected to get nearly a third of the total.
Other metro areas that will get charging stations include Austin, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Fla., Redmond, Wash., and Washington, D.C.
While several electric vehicles are scheduled to be introduced in the United States within the next two years, most manufacturers are rolling them out to key cities where consumer demand is expected to be high and where a charging infrastructure is being put in place.
"Our Department of Energy grant was funded to provide jobs for Americans," Coulomb CEO Richard Lowenthal said in a prepared statement. "Our products are built and installed with American labor."
Electric cars currently can travel a limited number of miles before the batteries need to be recharged, leading to what is known in the industry as "range anxiety." Charging stations available to the public at workplaces and retail stores are widely seen as part of the solution, and Coulomb's "ChargePoint Network" is open to all drivers. Drivers will sign up for monthly passes and swipe a card to pay for charging sessions.
Coulomb, which was founded in 2007, raised $14 million in second-round venture funding earlier this year and has 60 employees. The company expects its sales to increase dramatically in 2010 as electric vehicles are introduced worldwide.
The Nissan Leaf, which goes on sale in California in December, is already sold out for this year; Nissan says 19,000 people have pre-ordered the car. By the end of next year, several other electric vehicles are expected to be on the market, including the Chevy Volt, the Ford Focus Electric and Daimler's Smart ForTwo.
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