Editor's note: An earlier version of this story referred to an incorrect number of states where customers may qualify for the free station. It will be offered in nine markets.
DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. and Coulomb Technologies Inc. said Wednesday they are giving away 4,600 electric-vehicle charging stations. Some will go to the first buyers of the Ford Transit Connect electric delivery van, which goes on sale this year.
Customers in nine markets may qualify for a free station. Coulomb will immediately begin installing its ChargePoint Networked stations for customers in Austin, Texas; Detroit; Los Angeles; New York; Orlando; Sacramento, Calif.; the San Jose-San Francisco Bay Area; Redmond, Wash.; and Washington, D.C.
“Infrastructure is a key” for growing the electric-vehicle market, Mike Tinskey, manager of the Ford Sustainability Group, told Automotive News. “We have a bit of an infrastructure challenge in front of us, and we think this project will help enable the early adopters.”
Separately, Tinskey said Ford would roll out a nationwide program to help dealers install on-site charging stations for electric vehicles.
Ford is launching this incentive under its Ford Blue Oval ChargePoint Program, which is part of Coulomb's government-funded ChargePoint America project. ChargePoint America seeks to develop electric-vehicle infrastructure in the nine regions.
The $37 million ChargePoint America project is funded in part by a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Transportation Electrification Initiative.
Coulomb, of Campbell, Calif., is conducting a two-year study for the Energy Department and is required to have all the stations working in certain regions by 2011, CEO Richard Lowenthal said.
Ford and Coulomb will distribute 2,000 charging stations for home installations and 2,600 for commercial and public street-side use. Home-based charging stations cost less than $2,000 and commercial stations around $4,000, said Coulomb spokeswoman Anne Smith.
The home-installed stations will be awarded to Ford customers. The public stations will be distributed upon request rather than purchase. Lowenthal said the company aims to distribute the stations widely, but those who ask first are most likely to receive one.
To request a public electric-vehicle charging station, visit ChargePointAmerica.com