Electric Vehicles

Coulomb Introduces 'Flex Billing' for EV Charging Stations

February 09, 2010

CAMPBELL, CA - Seeking to expand fuel payment options for its customers, Coulomb Technologies has introduced the Flex Billing system for users of the company's ChargePoint networked charging stations. 

Beginning in July, users of ChargePoint networked charging stations will no longer need a subscription to the ChargePoint Network. As a more flexible alternative, owners of the charging stations -- also known as hosts -- will determine the price, if any, that drivers pay to use their stations. Such hosts include utilities, retailers, municipalities and corporations. 

The Flex Billing system provides the tools for hosts to set pricing at individual charging stations, while Coulomb provides turnkey services to collect, process and forward payments from drivers directly to hosts. Additionally, Coulomb is introducing its new ChargePass smart cards that give electric vehicle owners the ability to fuel up at any ChargePoint networked charging station and receive payment discounts and other benefits. 

"This shift is a direct result of the feedback from our customer base, which dates back to 2008," said Richard Lowenthal, CEO of Coulomb Technologies. "Flexibility is extremely important to our station owners, whether access to a charging station is controlled and billed based upon time, kilowatt hours, or is completely free. Through our networking software technology, we've added the Flex Billing system to our Application Service Suite, allowing station owners to set their own pricing." 

For ChargePoint network station owners worldwide, the Flex Billing system enables station owners to set pricing as a function of time of day, calendar date and driver -- much like a parking meter.

For example, a city with public ChargePoint stations can require drivers to pay one price per hour for access during the hours of 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and a second price "after hours." Those same stations can also be configured to provide "free" access to that city's EV fleet vehicles 24/7. 

Electric utilities that own stations can now bill their customers by kilowatt hour and time of use. In addition, corporations that own charging stations can offer their employees free parking but may opt to require visitors of their facilities to pay for charging at their stations. 

One of the most convenient ways to access ChargePoint charging stations is with Coulomb's new ChargePass smart card, which is modeled after bridge toll systems, the company said.  

To establish a ChargePass account, drivers can create an account online at www.mychargepoint.net

Each time a driver uses a ChargePass card, the Flex Billing system automatically deducts the EV fueling fee from the customer's current account balance and sends that money to the station owner. When the balance gets below a predetermined limit, the account is "re-filled" automatically. Drivers using the ChargePass cards can get discounts, and the ChargePass card can be private-labeled for use in loyalty programs. 

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