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Free electric-vehicle charging station unveiled

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Free electric-vehicle charging station unveiled

By Chrissie Thompson

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

The first of about 500 free electric-vehicle charging stations destined for southern Michigan homes and businesses now stands outside the headquarters of NextEnergy in TechTown near the Wayne State campus in Detroit.

Coulomb Technologies is providing its charging stations as part of a plan to install 4,600 chargers in key U.S. markets. The charging station equipment is free but those who get one must pay for installation.

The $37 million program, which includes $15 million of U.S. stimulus money, comes ahead of the launch of the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric vehicle and the Nissan Leaf EV late this year.

“With cars like this, you’ll never go to the gas station. But you need a place to charge them,” Coulomb CEO Richard Lowenthal said today at a press conference. “If you can’t fuel your vehicle, you won’t buy one.”

President Barack Obama has said he wants to see one million plug-in vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015. Lowenthal estimated the U.S. needs to install two million charging stations by then to give drivers the full benefit of their electric vehicles. Some cars, such as the 100-mile-range Leaf, run only on batteries, and owners may want to charge their vehicles while they’re at work. The Volt has a gasoline engine that takes over when it reaches the limit of its 40-mile battery-powered range.

Coulomb’s public charging stations typically cost $4,000 to $5,000, while its in-home chargers cost $1,700 to $2,000. Installation costs $500 to $4,000 more, said Joe Malcoun, who works in strategy and corporate development at DTE Energy in Ann Arbor.

Read more: Free electric-vehicle charging station unveiled | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com/article/20100902/BUSINESS01/100902052/1210/BUSINESS01/Free-electric-vehicle-charging-station-unveiled#ixzz0yPmoKMFK

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