February 22, 2009 As part of a two-year public demonstration project conducted with the City of San Francisco three Coulomb charging stations have been installed across the street from City Hall. Announced at a press conference with the Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom, these charge points are the first in 40 to be installed in the City’s efforts to transform the Bay Area into the EV Capital of the United States. The charge points are intended to allow on-street charging the city's municipal fleet of electric vehicles, as well as those owned by car-sharing services City CarShare and Zipcar.
The Coulomb Technologies Charging Stations range in capability from 120V 15A to 240V 80A AC charging to 120kW DC charging but no technical details have been provided for the City Hall chargers. The City of San Francisco’s charging stations have new technology that supports clean fleets like those owned by the City. The “Fleet Management Portal” includes such features as interactive charts that summarize gasoline saved and greenhouse gases saved, displays of which vehicles are charging, which vehicles are fully charged, and which vehicles are overdue for charging. The Fleet Management Portal also includes smartphone text messaging that alerts EV drivers when cars need charging, when they are fully charged, and when charging is interrupted.
The stations are activated by the use of their ChargePoint Smart Cards, which work like a membership card. Drivers can choose to pay per session or to pay for a set amount of charging sessions per month. Coulumb Technologies plans to install 40 of their Smartlet stations along California highways by the end of the quarter. In addition to San Francisco, the company already has demonstration stations in San Jose.
This announcement follows news in November last year of plans with Better Place to set up 250,000 electric-car charging ports in the SF Bay Area, a $1 billion project that can become reality by 2012. Earlier this month there was also news of the city of San Francisco agreeing to co-operate with General Motors to install charging infrastructure in preparation for the launch of the Plug-in Chevy Volt next year.
Although there are 77 charging sites listed throughout the Bay Area offering an assortment of induction paddles and plug in connections, many are left over from the days when EV1s where on Californian roads, the United Kingdom currently has the lead as far as number of charge points is concerned with over 200 installed across the London metropolitan area alone.