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4 juin 2010 5 04 /06 /juin /2010 16:28

Early adopters who buy an electric car, already set back by the cost of the vehicle, may have their mood further soured by the need to also buy a home charger, with an average price of about $2,000. But some city dwellers are in luck, because a federal grant will allow them to get the charger for free (Sony Vaio VGN-FZ battery).

The goal is to make it easier for consumers and communities to get started with E.V.’s. Nine United States regions will receive 4,600 free chargers for public and private use through the ChargePoint America program, funded in part by $15 million in stimulus funds administered by the Energy Department. Ford, General Motors and Smart are partners  (Sony VGP-BPS8 battery).

California-based Coulomb Technologies makes the program’s ChargePoint chargers, which were shipped to 130 customers in 2009    (Sony VGP-BPL9 battery).

“We’re excited to be part of this program, because it gets both public and private infrastructure installed in key areas of the U.S.,” said Mike Tinskey, manager of vehicle electrification and infrastructure at Ford    (Sony VGP-BPL11 battery).

Fully funded, the ChargePoint America program would cost $37 million, with some of the shortfall for the actual station installations being addressed, the organizers hope, through state and local grants    (Sony VGP-BPL15 battery).

“Some state match funding is highly likely,” Mr. Tinskey said.

Richard Lowenthal, chief executive of Coulomb, added, “We’re working on matching grant opportunities. The worst case is that the recipient of the free charging station pays for installation”    (ASUS A3000 Battery).

Businesses interested in installing a charging station can fill out a reservation form at the ChargePoint America Web site. Would-be buyers of E.V.’s or plug-in hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt, electric Smart Fortwo and Ford Transit Connect battery-electric van can get more information about the free chargers on the Internet or by visiting dealerships. More than 1,000 public stations will be installed by December, Coulomb said, with the remainder in place by September 2011    (ASUS Eee PC 1000HE Battery).

In part because of $5,000 direct subsidies for battery cars like the Nissan Leaf, California could be the biggest early-adopter for E.V.’s. Three of the nine communities for the program are in California: Sacramento, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay-San Jose area  (Dell Inspiron 6400 battery).

“A third of what we’re doing will be in California,” Mr. Lowenthal said. The others are New York City, Orlando, Austin, Detroit, Washington and Redmond, Wash   (SONY VAIO VGN-FZ4000 Battery).

“We’re excited about being in New York, because aside from the Mini E program and the Tesla Roadster, it hasn’t seen much E.V. action,” said Mr. Lowenthal. “We expect to have a great reception there     (Toshiba PA3399U-2BAS Battery).’

The stations in the program are networked, with the ability to send “charging complete” or “charging interrupted” messages via text or e-mail message. Network users will be able to find local (and unoccupied) charge spots onMychargepoint.net   (IBM ThinkPad T40 Battery).

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