A previous post reporting the rollout of GE's WattStation network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle charging raised two questions concerning its competitive status versus Coulomb's ChargePoint network: GE's apparent claim that its stations will offer faster charging; and its general competitive position, given that Coulomb Technologies appears to have got the jump.
Regarding the first question, GE says it only meant that Level 2 charging at 220 volts will be faster than Level 1 and 110, which is true of the Coulomb setup as well, as I understand it.
On the second point, GE managers say the following: "GE has been in the electrical distribution and protection business for over 100 years. As the GE WattStation is a vital part of tomorrow's electrical infrastructure, GE is able to leverage it's existing network of authorized distributors and electrical contractors to install the EV infrastructure - that includes circuit protection equipment, transformers as well as the GE WattStation - to provide a safe and reliable installed system. GE will also leverage our extensive experience in the utility transmission and distribution business to make sure that the GE WattStation is Smart Grid enabled for intelligent integration into today's power grid."
However the competition plays out for each of the companies, the existence of the competition can only be good for the development of a grid adequate to the needs of EV and hybrid drivers. Nissan having announced last year a home-charging program for buyers of its upcoming Leaf, infrastructure is not being neglected. That said, the ability of local distribution transformers to handle the added load from car chargers if plug-in hybrids really catch on remains much in doubt.