GE Challenges Coulomb in EV Charging

Coulomb has head start, but GE claims higher performance, perhaps dubiously

1 min read

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.

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We Need More Than Just Electric Vehicles

To decarbonize road transport we need to complement EVs with bikes, rail, city planning, and alternative energy

11 min read
A worker works on the frame of a car on an assembly line.

China has more EVs than any other country—but it also gets most of its electricity from coal.

VCG/Getty Images

EVs have finally come of age. The total cost of purchasing and driving one—the cost of ownership—has fallen nearly to parity with a typical gasoline-fueled car. Scientists and engineers have extended the range of EVs by cramming ever more energy into their batteries, and vehicle-charging networks have expanded in many countries. In the United States, for example, there are more than 49,000 public charging stations, and it is now possible to drive an EV from New York to California using public charging networks.

With all this, consumers and policymakers alike are hopeful that society will soon greatly reduce its carbon emissions by replacing today’s cars with electric vehicles. Indeed, adopting electric vehicles will go a long way in helping to improve environmental outcomes. But EVs come with important weaknesses, and so people shouldn’t count on them alone to do the job, even for the transportation sector.

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