Coulomb Technologies, maker of networked electric vehicle charging stations, is gradually growing its presence in and around the Bay Area — it already has a significant number of stations in San Francisco, San Jose and Walnut Creek, for example. Today, it officially arrives in the state capital, Sacramento, where green development firm DMC Green has opened the first of 40 contracted stations that will use Coulomb technology.
DMC Green is a research, development and installation firm focused on providing renewable and alternative fuels to customers at their point of purchase. It has even constructed traditional fueling stations to green building LEED standards. Coulomb’s curbside plug-in machines are right up DMC’s alley, requiring customers to scan their “ChargePoint Smart Cards” to charge their electric vehicles’ batteries. They are usually mounted to telephone poles, bollards or walls.
Since VentureBeat first reported on Coulomb back in January with its $3.75 million first round of funding, the Campbell, Calif., company has seen a consistent string of wins. Now with charging locations outside California (including a number of them in Chicago, Florida, Tennessee and even Amsterdam), and a high-profile deal to roll out stations at McDonald’s restaurants, Coulomb is starting to attract real buzz.
At the start of the year, it appeared to be on the losing end of a battle with hyped-up Better Place, the charging and battery-switching station company that had captured attention in 2008. The latter had Shai Agassi, one of the stars at software company SAP, at the top, $200 million in funding and a number of battery exchange stations already in California and abroad. But it’s been quiet lately, apparently toiling away at the technology before further major rollouts. It’s emphasis on battery swapping also diverges from what its competition is working on.
In the meantime, Coulomb is gaining momentum, and suggests it will continue working with DMC in other parts of California, where electric vehicle infrastructure is taking root more than anywhere else in the country. Prospective users can find locations of the company’s ChargePoint stations at mychargepoint.net.
In January, Coulomb received its first round of funding from German backer Estag Capital. At the time, it said it planned to increase that round to between $5 and $8 million. It also said the investor would help it establish a toehold in Europe for further overseas expansion. So far, no announcement of further financing has been made, and the only European development has occurred in the Netherlands.