California's first electric-car charging station under a new national program was unveiled Thursday afternoon at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) in Palo Alto.
The unveiling was done with some pomp and ceremony by officials as they also announced a $3.4 million state grant to install other stations in the Bay Area, Sacramento and Los Angeles.
The EPRI station is part of a plan to install thousands of such stations at companies across the state and nation under a program called ChargePoint America (www.chargepointamerica.com), created by Campbell-based Coulomb Technologies.
The EPRI installation is the second such charging station in America, with the first plug-in for electric cars and hybrids installed in Orlando, Fla. Similar programs will be launched in nine metropolitan regions nationwide.
Businesses of any size may apply for free installation of such stations, Coulomb spokesperson Anne Smith told the Weekly today. Individuals may also apply. She said that there are about 100 charging stations already in the state, but this is the first on the West Coast under the new ChargePoint America networked program.
Coulomb Thursday announced the $3.417,000 grant from the California Energy Commission, through matching funds that will bring the overall $12 million project into California. The total includes $5 million in federal funding, announced earlier.
Nationwide, the ChargePoint America program is expected to cost $37 million, funded in part by a $15 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, specifically through the Transportation Electrification Initiative of the federal Department of Energy.
More than 1,000 new public charging stations are expected to be installed by the end of 2010, with more in 2011. Owners of the stations may charge for the charging, although the stations also can be configured for free access to drivers of electric vehicles.
People may request a station for their area via www.mychargepoint.net/request-station.php .
"California is leading the charge and will soon have thousands of networked charging stations thanks to this grant from the Energy Comission," Coulomb CEO Richard Lowenthal said at the plug-in ceremony.
Coulomb Technologies has installed similar charging systems in cities and organizations around the world.
Others attending the ceremony included state Energy Commission member Jeffrey Byron; Edwin Owens, a U.S. Department of Energy supervisor of the Office of Vehicle Technologies; Bryan Hannegan, EPRI vice president of environment and renewables sector; Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino; and Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement praising Coulomb Technologies for the program and for creating jobs.
"Electric vehicles are one of the most exciting green technologies on the markert and a vital part of California's developing clean-energy economy," he said in the statement.