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Public EV charge stations coming to car GPS

Coulomb Technologies to show off integration with TomTom GPS car navigation system for finding and reserving public charging stations for electric vehicles.

A Coulomb charging site.
Coulomb Technologies

Coulomb Technologies today is demonstrating a way to locate public charging stations for electric vehicles through the TomTom car navigation systems.

The application will let drivers find and reserve the nearest available Coulomb charging site, as well as get details on each location, such as the cost, charge rate, and connector type.

Coulomb, which is one of the major players in EV charging sites, declined to say when the product will be available. It does intend to integrate with other car navigation systems, according to a representative. The TomTom application is being shown this week at the Plug-In 2011 electric vehicle conference in Raleigh, N.C.

Drivers can already reserve Coulomb's EV stations through a Web site or smart-phone applications for the iPhone and BlackBerry models. Coulomb EV charging stations are networked and have a programming API to access data. But integrating directly with in-car navigation systems will make the service convenient to a larger group of potential customers, according to Coulomb.

"The successful adoption of electric vehicles will depend on the ability of EV drivers to easily locate charging stations and more importantly to ensure that the station is available, especially now when there are more EVs than stations in many locations," Coulomb CEO Pat Romano said in a statement.

Many people expect that the bulk of electric vehicle charging will be done at home, but public charging points in parking garages or retail outlets are considered important to make EVs more convenient and to ease so-called range anxiety, or worries about running out of power.