Charging Stations Under Development for Upcoming Vue and Volt Plug-in Hybrids

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Saturn Vue Green Line Plug-In Hybrid

Close your eyes, if you will, and image the year is 2011. You're in the market for a new car. You work 15 miles from home, and you need vehicle that has enough space to not only haul around your family, but has room leftover for the inevitable weekend trips to Lowes and Home Depot. Gas prices have skyrocketed and are hovering around a record $6.29 per gallon. Image that you just bought a brand new Saturn Vue Green Line 2-Mode plug-in hybrid.

The vehicle's high-tech plug-in electric powerplant uses essentially no gasoline on a daily basis, as your average roundtrip trek to work and back is well under the 40 miles that the Vue can run under battery power alone. But what happens if your gas tank is empty, you're late for a meeting downtown, and your battery only has enough charge to get you there, but not back?

What do you do? Recharge your Vue at a Coulomb Technologies' Smartlet charging station while you tend to business.

That scenario won't be too far off if one California company has its way. Automotive News reports in this week's issue that Coulomb Technologies is developing small charging stations that it hopes can be economically installed in parking spaces around country. The company plans to demonstrate their idea this coming July at the Plug-in Car Show in San Jose, California.

"We're going to have curbside charging — in parking structures, parking lots, at work and at retail," entrepreneur Richard Lowenthal, CEO of Coulomb Technologies told the periodical. The company reportedly approached GM about their idea last fall.

"We said that sounded like a good idea," Jon Lauckner, GM vice president of global program management, told Automotive News. The magazine wrote: "Although GM is not helping fund Coulomb's venture, the development of a public infrastructure will help support GM's launches of the Volt and Saturn Vue plug-in hybrids. GM hopes to get those to market in 2010. Other manufacturers also are working on plug-in electric vehicles."

But will GM's plug-in system be compatible with its charging systems? Coulomb thinks so. Lauckner revealed in an email to the periodical that "the charging systems of both the Chevrolet Volt and Saturn Vue plug-ins will be compatible with a standard U.S. household circuit — 110 V/12-15 amps. Both will also be able to handle 220 volts."

Source: Automotive News

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