General Electric has joined the fray to provide charging stations for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, challenging Coulomb's ChargePoint network, which is deploying electricity pumps in nine U.S. metropolitan areas with support from the stimulus bill. Like the ChargePoint, GE's WattStation is smartly fashioned--in its case by Yves Behar, an internationally known industrial designer based in San Francisco.
Though Coulomb obviously got off the blocks first, GE claims that it station provides faster charges. I await enlightenment from GE--or readers--as to how that can be the case, as other sources have told me that charging speed is limited by the characteristics of car batteries, not the charging station.
GE says the WattStation is one of 90 ecomagination projects announced since that initiative was launched five years ago. The company is cooperating with Nissan on technologies needed for a "reliable, dynamic, smart-charging infrastructure," and it has put up $200 million to reward innovators coming up with useful ideas for the next-generation grid.