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ChargePoint and ECOtality announce joint service for electric vehicle charging

Two Bay Area companies that operate public charging stations for electric vehicles are joining forces to make it easier for drivers to charge their cars.

ChargePoint, based in Campbell, and ECOtality, based in San Francisco, are not merging. Instead, they have created Collaboratev, a separate service that will allow for charging at any of the two companies’ stations and billing across both networks. They also will share data on where each charging station is located.

ChargePoint currently owns about 11,000 charging stations nationwide while ECOtality operates 4,000, so the combined service will give electric vehicle drivers access to about 15,000 public charging stations.

“This is awesome news,” said
Pat Romano, CEO of Coulomb Technologies, stands next to an electric vehicle charging station at the company headquarters in Campbell, Calif. on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011. Coulomb Technologies created the ChargePoint Network which as an open-platform network of charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles around the world. (Gary Reyes/ Mercury News) ( Gary Reyes )
Chad Schwitters, a Seattle resident and board member of the electric vehicle advocacy group Plug In America. “There are at least seven different companies that operate charging stations, and as a driver you should be able to use them all. This is absolutely something the electric vehicle industry needs.”

Pat Romano, the CEO of ChargePoint, uses the analogy of ATM machines.

“If you have a Bank of America card, you can still get cash out of a Wells Fargo ATM machine,” said Romano. “This is the same thing.”

ChargePoint and ECOtality are competitors, but both share the goal of seeing more electric vehicles on American roads. They hope other charging station providers, from GE to NRG, will join Collaboratev as affiliates.
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Individual companies could still assess drivers small “out of network” fees for charging their cars at other companies’ stations, muchm as banks charge fees if you use another bank’s ATM machine.
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