|The ChargePoint Network. Click to enlarge.|
Coulomb Technologies is introducing a new smart charging infrastructure for plug-in vehicles, including Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREVs such as the Volt), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs).
Coulomb’s ChargePoint Network includes public charging stations, a consumer subscription plan and utility grid management technology for electric utility companies to smooth electrical demands on the grid. The infrastructure solution will be showcased with GM’s Saturn Vue Plug-in Hybrid at the Plug-In 2008 Conference & Exposition 22-24 July in San Jose, California.
Coulomb’s ChargePoint Network integrates three components:
Smartlet Charging Stations. Smartlet Charging Stations are at the edge of the ChargePoint network. They perform bi-directional energy metering and control, user authentication, and apply 802.15.4 wireless local area network technology, enabling a subscription model through communication with a data center.
Smartlet Communications Network. The network is a high reliability meshed network using 802.15.4 technology and GSM/GRPS technology to communicate with the Network Operating System for user authentication, access control, energy flow control and energy metering.
ChargePoint Network Operating System (NOS). The NOS manages the Smartlet Charging Stations through the Smartlet Communications Network. The ChargePoint Network also provides web portals for subscribers, hosts and utilities. Functions include user authentication, access control, energy flow control, location management, utility company policy administration, user portal, host property portal, utility portal and GPS system interface.
There are currently three configurations of the CT1000 Smartlet Charging Stations:
Smartlet CT1000 110V Pole Mount Model. This model straps onto a streetlight. Since conduit is already available at a streetlight pole, the installation cost associated with this model is greatly reduced. The Smartlet Pole Mount model only supports 110V/15A charging.
Smartlet CT1000 110V Bollard Model. This model stands on its own and is designed for curbside and parking structure installation. It supports 110V/15A charging.
Smartlet CT1000 Dual Mode (110V and 220V) Bollard Model: This model is also a bollard and supports 110V 15 Amp and 220V 15A charging.
Coulomb is developing a Level 2 Smartlet family of charging stations for charging rates up to 220V 70 AMPs for release in 2009. Future Smartlet Charging Stations will share the same Smartlet Communications Network and ChargePoint Network Operating System.
Coulomb envisions that most users will subscribe to the ChargePoint Network, although drivers will be able to purchase a single use via cell phone or credit card payment stations.
A typical use scenario is that a subscriber finds the nearest available charging station using a navigation system. He or she parks next to the Smartlet Charging Station. For 110V charging, the subscriber will swipe a key fob to be authenticated at the station, unlocking the Smartlet access door. After plugging in the cord, the door will lock in a partially open position to secure the cord and begin charging. After charging is complete, the subscriber will scan the key fob again to deactivate the charging station and unlock the access door. The cost of the transaction will be displayed on the charging station. The driver will replace the cord into its original position and can then drive away.
For 220V charging, the cable is attached to the Smartlet Charging Station and the driver need only connect the 220V pistol grip connector to the car and then swipe the ChargePoint key fob at the Smartlet to enable charging.
The subscriber concept allows for regional roaming and for charging at any charging station that is part of the ChargePoint Network.
We have developed a scalable, smart charging infrastructure that provides municipalities and parking lot owners a recurring income stream through public charging stations that are easy to install and maintain. Our complete technology solution also provides electric utility companies a means to control the load that plug-in vehicles put on the grid and a means to compute and implement taxes on electricity as a transportation fuel.—Richard Lowenthal, CEO of Coulomb Technologies
Coulomb Technologies has two inter-related businesses: a product sales business and a service business. Smartlet Charging Stations are sold to municipalities and parking lot owners as capital equipment in a business-to-business model. Charging access is sold to drivers of plug-in vehicles as a subscription service in a business-to-consumer model. Both the Smartlet Charging Stations and ChargePoint Network Operating System will be available in Q4 2008.