Without looking at the law in every jurisdiction, we can say with some certainty that It is illegal to sell electricity in the U.S. unless you’re a utility company. Originally intended to keep shady landlords from overcharging tenants for power, this law creates a bit of a problem for companies, like Coulomb Technologies, that want to get into the electric vehicle charging station business. At the Plug-In 2009 conference in Long Beach this week, we spoke with Coulomb‘s Mike DiNucci, who told us how his company has figured out a way to offer customers electricity without breaking the law. It was tricky, but they found a solution is to sell charging sessions at the outlet, not the power itself.
When you use one of Coulomb’s ChargePoints, you’ll pay a set rate, say $2. You pay this if you’re getting a 30-minute top-off while getting groceries or if you charge up for four hours during dinner and a movie. Since you’re paying the same amount for vastly different amounts of energy, no one can accuse Coulomb of selling the energy. Instead, they’re selling access to the energy. Clever, no? Read on past the jump to find out how DiNucci says this method will make money for Coulomb, and for private and public entities – like Sierra Nevada Brewing – that install ChargePoints.
Coulomb Technologies will legally “sell” energy for electric cars by not selling energy at all originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Fri, 14 Aug 2009 09:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.