By John Addison – June 3, 2010
Ford is promoting smart charging as it now takes orders for the Ford Transit Connect, next year for the 2011 Ford Focus EV, and in 2012 the Ford Plug-in Hybrid. Ford is partnering with Coulomb Technologies to provide nearly 5,000 free wall-installed charging stations for some of the automaker’s first electric car and electric delivery van customers.
Under the Ford Blue Oval ChargePoint Program, fleets and residents in nine designated markets could receive a free ChargePoint® Networked Charging Station with the purchase of a Ford Transit Connect Electric vehicle. The nine markets designated by Coulomb Technologies include Austin, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Sacramento, the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area, Redmond, Wash., and Washington D.C. The installation of ChargePoint charging stations will begin immediately.
Ford plans to introduce five new electrified vehicles in North America by 2012, providing a range of products to meet a variety of customer needs. These include:
• A Transit Connect Electric small commercial van. Test Drive Report
• A Ford Focus Electric passenger car debuting in 2011. Test Drive Report
• Two next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrid-electric vehicles and a plug-in hybrid by 2012
If 5,000 Transit Connect Electrics are sold in the target cities prior to Focus EV sales, then charging units may all go to those customers. This will help accelerate early adoption of electric vans in fleets such as utilities, universities, goods delivery, and contractors.
New USA Jobs for Plug-in Cars and Advanced Batteries
Ford’s increased use of lithium-ion batteries is also increasing jobs in the United States. Ford will make its own battery packs in Michigan, using Focus EV cells from nearby Compact Power, an LG Chem company. The plug-in hybrid cells will be made in Wisconsin by Johnson-Controls Saft. The U.S. made new lithium-ion batteries will be used instead of the currently Mexican made nickel metal hydride batteries. Over 6,000 new jobs are coming to Michigan just for advanced batteries. “Michigan will be the place where the electric vehicle and battery-powered vehicle will be researched, developed, produced, manufactured and assembled,” said Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
The Ford Blue Oval ChargePoint Program is part of Coulomb Technologies’ $37 million ChargePoint America charging station infrastructure project made possible by a grant funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the Department of Energy.
Coulomb Technologies Leads in Smart Charging Build-Out
Coulomb Technologies is a fast-growing venture capital backed firm headquartered in California. Coulomb’s ChargePoint® Network, is open to all plug-in electric vehicle drivers and provides authentication, management and real-time control for the networked electric vehicle charging stations. The network of electric vehicle charging stations is accessible to all plug-in drivers by making a toll-free call to the 24/7 number on each charging station, or signing up for a ChargePoint Network monthly access plan and obtaining a ChargePass™ smart card. Other future payment options include using any smart (RFID) credit/debit card to authorize a session or using a standard credit or debit card at a remote payment station (RPS) to pay for charging sessions. To locate available charging stations, visit mychargepoint.net and click “Find Stations.”
As electric cars start to ship with the new J1772 smart charging capability, Coulomb has taken the lead in installing a smart charging infrastructure with over 700 networked charging stations worldwide shipped to more than 130 customers in 2009. 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 and up to 500 Volt DC charging.
Smart charging will allow customers to save money by charging off-peak when rates are low. Major utilities also plan to inform smart charging station customers that excess renewable energy is available if that is their charging preference. Electric Utilities Facilitate Smart Grid
ChargePoint America will offer home and public charging stations to individuals and businesses. Businesses interested in applying for free public charging stations or consumers exploring an electric vehicle purchase can visit www.chargepointamerica.com for more information.
Three automakers have committed to deliver electric vehicles in designated US regions. The Chevrolet Volt, the Ford Transit Connect Electric and Ford Focus Electric through the “Ford Blue Oval ChargePoint Program”, and the smart fortwo electric drive will be introduced along with this program. ChargePoint America plans to provide 4,600 public and private ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations by October 2011.