Electric Car-Charging Startup GreenlightAC Joins the Fray

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Better Place may be making the most noise in the electric car charging field, but it isn’t the only game in town. And now there’s a new player — one-and-a-half-month-old GreenlightAC, which unveiled plans yesterday to deploy electric vehicle-charging stations in the Washington, D.C., area, although it has yet to reveal if it has any customers lined up. Based in D.C., GreenlightAC is reportedly set to close on a $500,000 first round of angel investment, and expects to release a prototype of its car-charging station, called the ChargeBar, this month.


The company says its ChargeBar will work with standard plugs (both 110 volt and 220 volt) for electric and plug-in hybrid cars, but unlike Better Place or Coulomb Technologies, GreelightAC isn’t building its technology around a subscription-based service. And it’s not going for the curbside market, either. GreenlightAC is focusing on garages for both office and residential buildings — installation sites that Mark Duvall of the Electric Power Research Institute and Bob Hayden, clean transportation adviser for the City of San Francisco have said will be easier and cheaper than curbside stations. GreenlightAC says it handles the installation and maintenance of the chargers, while the building owner pays for the electricity — about $1 for an 8-hour charge, according to the company’s web site.

The idea is to have building owners offer the electric vehicle-charging service as a complementary amenity for the building, and GreenlightAC plans to sell the systems to commercial building owners, parking garage managers, museums, sports facilities, homeowners and government customers. The company said future versions of the ChargeBar will allow building owners to tack fees onto the service.

GreenlightAC hasn’t said exactly where the first ChargeBars will show up, but they’ll start to be installed in the Washington metro area in the third quarter of this year, with future installations potentially expanding to other parts of the Mid-Atlantic region. The company told the Washington Business Journal that it expects to sell 350 of its charging stations by the end of next year.

With a growing number of electric vehicle-charging players out there, competition will be fierce. And there’s at least one rival that’s already made a deal in GreenlightAC’s own backyard — AeroVironment (s AVAV) said earlier this month that it formed a partnership with the local government and Nissan North America on a car-charging network for Washington, D.C.

Image of ChargeBar courtesy of GreenlightAC.

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