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Electric Car Startup Gains Urban Foothold with 30-Minute Charges

350Green aims to help America's "garage-less" city dwellers confidently buy electric cars, by installing fast-charging stations at their local retailers

By Maria Gallucci

Feb 15, 2011
Electric car getting charged

Lowenthal, who is also a former mayor of Cupertino, Calif., said he expects the next wave of customers to be U.S. utilities. After cities and companies buy up the charging stations for their residents and employees, then utilities could sell them to customers like meters.

But many kinks still need to be worked out, he said. Both Coulomb's and 350Green's systems charge drivers by time spent at the pump or per session, not by kilowatt-hours.

"Are we constructing a bunch of little utilities?" Lowenthal asked. "[Public utility companies] have a regulatory concern around us selling electricity, so we work with them to sort that out. If an apartment building has its tenants pay for charging vehicles, is it acting like a utility? How are these things regulated?"

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