On the day of Tesla's IPO, Richard Lowenthal of Coulomb Technologies discusses the vital role of charging stations in creating a thriving ecosystem for electric vehicles like Tesla Roadster. In an exclusive Fresh Dialogues interview, Lowenthal, a Silicon Valley based maker of charging stations, argues that a comprehensive network of charging stations is a vital prerequisite for the successful roll out of electric cars such as the Tesla, Smart Car, Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf in the next two years.
Lowenthal explains why a visit to Tesla Motors inspired him to launch his green company after a successful career in high tech at StrataCom and Stardent Computers. For its part, Coulomb Technologies is still in the early stages of installing charging stations and faces competition from the larger, well-funded Better Place which offers battery swaps as well as charging. However, Coulomb recently won a $15 million grant from the Department of Energy and its ChargePoint America program is scheduled to install 4600 charging stations in nine strategic regions of the United States by September 2011.
Reports indicate that despite Tesla's questionable financials - the company has failed to have a profitable quarter - investors are "giddy" about today's IPO. It seems that for some, the "cool factor" and zero to 60 in under 4 seconds trumps all....at least in the short term.
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