Coming soon: Free power for electric cars

A federal grant will pay for electric car charging stations to be installed in homes and businesses across the country, free of charge.

By TheStreet Staff Jun 4, 2010 12:30PM

MainStreet.comCar wheel © Brand X / SuperStockBy Seth Fiegerman, MainStreet


Uncle Sam wants you to forget about our oil problems for a minute and start thinking about electric cars.


The New York Times reports that the federal government has allocated $15 million in stimulus money and another $22 million in grants to build 4,600 charging stations for electric cars across the country. The goal, according to the Times, is to make the transition to electric cars "easier for communities and consumers."


The money will go to Coulomb Technologies, a company that builds fueling units for electric transportation. Coulomb will now begin installing charging stations in public areas like offices, stores and parking lots. Best of all, about 2,000 of these chargers will be installed for free in the homes of people who buy an electric car. As the Times notes, these chargers would otherwise cost around $2,000.


Businesses and consumers who are interested in signing up for one of these electric car stations can request one free of charge at, a program sponsored by Coulomb. Of course, there are no guarantees that you will be able to get one. The stations will be installed over the next 18 months.

According to, these chargers will be installed in nine cities, including San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; Orlando, Fla.; Detroit; Sacramento, Calif.; New York City; Redmond, Calif.; and Austin, Texas.


At the moment, most electric cars are not actually that expensive, considering it’s a new technology. The estimated price of the upcoming Chevy Volt is about $40,000. And Ford (F), which plans to sell three kinds of electric cars by 2012, has one on the market now for a little more than $21,000.


Yet, the government is doing much to try and make these cars seem more enticing. On top of this grant, Congress is also considering a bipartisan piece of legislation that would give Americans a $7,500 tax credit when they buy an electric car and a $2,000 tax credit when they install a charging station. So even if you don’t end up getting one of the charging stations installed for free by Coulomb, if this legislation passes, there is still a great deal right around the corner.


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