Home Cool Company Awards 2010 Meet ChargePoint Australia, Anthill 2010 Cool Company Award Finalist

Meet ChargePoint Australia, Anthill 2010 Cool Company Award Finalist [X-Factor Award Category]

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What are the Anthill Cool Company Awards?

The Cool Company Awards were launched in 2006 as a way for Anthill to acknowledge and celebrate Australian organisations that are doing things differently to bring about positive change. Cool Companies stay one step ahead of the rest. They breed leaders who are rule-makers and rule-breakers. They are trend-setters in attitude and action. Quite simply, they are … cool! More.

ChargePoint Australia

Company: ChargePoint Australia
Website: chargepoint.com.au
State: NSW
Category: X-Factor

Three Australians visited Silicon Valley two years ago with the goal of getting a jump on the electric-vehicle era. Today, they say they’re poised to give battery-powered cars a jolt.

James Brown, Lance Douglas and Luke Grana secured the exclusive distribution rights in Australia and New Zealand for Coulomb Technologies’ ChargePoint system. The new ChargePoint Australia is rolling out electricity charging stations that are networked and remotely monitored. Using technology and infrastructure from communication partner Visionstream, ChargePoint will allow a EV driver to find a charging station on an iPhone app and, once plugged in, track the charge while he grabs a cuppa.

ChargePoint Australia unveiled its first station in May, with Sydney Mayor Clover Moore presiding over the affair at Derby Place. The company has since installed numerous stations in other cities, including two at Adelaide City Hall and two outside Google headquarters in Pyrmont. The current emphasis is on government usage; stations are going up outside of city halls and in council parking lots. But the larger goal is to have a network, infrastructure and products ready as the average consumer chooses to go electric.

The company has been rewarded one-third of the Victoria EV trial sites and has 30 more orders for fleets around the county. The stations are compliant with electric cars coming from Mitsubishi and Nissan.

ChargePoint is in a head-to-head, hearts-and-mind battle with Better Place, one of the world’s leaders in planned services for electric vehicles. Better Place has set itself apart with an ambitious plan to use “switching stations” that swap out entire car batteries, thereby overcoming the lengthy recharging times EVs require.

“We are the first and only charging infrastructure provider out there,” ChargePoint wrote in its Cool Company application, “and our grassroots approach is intended to overcome the top-heavy, tall-poppy approach Better Place uses. They exist in PowerPoint; we are about actual, working charging stations.”

ChargePoint Australia said they improved on Coulomb’s original solution with an internal metre that allows for station energy monitoring without extra cables or requiring access to the property owner’s energy metre.

The company has used Mitsubishi’s iMiev EV as a marketing tool, driving a logo-branded version around town and talking up the people it attracts. The iMievs were the source of one of ChargePoint’s “learning moments” — the first models to arrive in August sported plugs that didn’t fit the charging stations. An in-house electrician led the design of new, workable leads that were passed along to Mitsubishi. Lesson learned: ChargePoint made sure to talk to Nissan (their Leaf EV is due in Oz next) and General Motors (the Volt) about the same issue.

ChargePoint’s goal is to have a viable charging system in place to help potential buyers overcome range anxiety — the fear an EV will run out of juice mid-journey — and help lead Australia and the world out of the era of the internal-combustion engine.

News feature on ChargePoint

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