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Coulomb Technologies Introduces New Smart Charging Infrastructure for Plug-In Vehicles

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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.

Comments

ai_vin

No, its V2G. see here- http://www.udel.edu/V2G/
Your .com just goes to a search engine.

A.Syme

Herny Gibson, In your comments you say that there are ways of picking up power from the roadway. Can you give me an example? I am very interested in "on the fly" charging systems. The only ones I know of are for busses, covering a fix route.

Axil

@arnold


One possible standard template that could be followed is Universal Serial Bus (USB) in computers. USB can connect computer peripherals such as computer mouse, keyboards, PDAs, gamepads and joysticks, scanners, digital cameras, printers, personal media players, and flash drives.

More broadly, a standard that is flexible and extensible and able to adapt to a wide range of situations that are yet unknown.

Engineer-Poet

Quoth GoodCheer:

the system is ... delivering 1.8 kW, ... about 7 miles range per hour.
This is sufficient to charge any of the announced PHEVs to its full all-electric range during an 8-hour work day, with some time left over.  True, it's not perfect for everything, but it's not a bad start.
If this system is capable of "bi-directional energy metering and control" then the vehicle owner should be PAID for plugging in
Maybe you'll get that as a discount on your power.  I don't think people are going to complain about paying as long as they pay substantially less for electricity than liquids.

Quoth Henry Gibson:

It would be easier and cheaper to build a zero emissions diesel burning car that dropped off water and CO2 at the service station than it would be to build a long range hydrogen fuel cell car.
I once thought the same, and then I took the time to run some numbers.  Suffice it to say that the weight calculations alone caused me to reconsider the feasibility.  Ammonia in combustion engines is probably a more practical scheme than either HFC or carbon-captured diesel; I'm none too keen about any of them.

Henry Gibson

@a.syme

Yes they must be confined to certain paths which is why any electric vehicle should carry small generators. It is not hard to imagine conductor plates in the roadway at any possible bus stop. Elevated conductors such as signs could also be used with clever robotic arms. Generators that operate at either high power or high efficiency or not at all can be very low NOX and the hybrid configuration guarantees low fuel use.

Electric contacts such as short rails that are small enough to be totally covered by the vehicle for safety and only energized when connected to the vehicle contacts. A city in France uses such a system.

Rails down a lane of any freeway could be electrified continuously with about 50 volts that would present no danger, but to get the five kw needed, the current would have to be 100 amps which is not low but can be done. The cost of running rails is quite small compared to the total cost of the motorway section. High voltage DC cables are buried in the right of way and DC to DC converters power sections only when vehicles are drawing power. Regenerative braking down long slopes is possible and can supply power to those going up.

It must never be assumed that power will be available all the time so batteries or another source of power must always be present.

Some ancient electric locomotives had flywheels to deal with gaps in the electrification; new ones have diesel generators.

The electric grid is already partially direct current. There are commercial system that can operate at 30,000 volts and more. Direct current is needed for long underground power cables. Grid power should become buried direct current cables. Semiconductor technology allows, even now, for cost effective house by house inverters from a DC grid and such will be cheaper at higher volumes. The nature of semiconductors may limit small home inverters to 30,OOO volts or less.

There is a balance between the cost of the cable and the cost of the higher voltage converter. Buried cables can even be very heavy if they are cheap enough. Large insulated steel cables could be cost effective and not attractive to thieves. Even cheaper is metalic sodium in plastic insulating tubes; such were produced for a while when copper and aluminum were expensive in previous decades.

Million volt DC transmission cable can be buried under a small road and certainly in the right of way of motorways. But lower voltage cables are likely to be the basis of the new grid.

Energy from such cables can be used to energise conductors in the road way for electric cars. ..HG..

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