Tesla Motor’s highly anticipated charging network has finally been unveiled to the public with the revelation of it first six supercharger stations. According to Tesla, the stations will safely deliver up to 4.5 times more electricity to the battery giving approximately half a charge in half an hour. It will do this by using special cables that connect directly to the battery, bypassing any on board charging equipment. The most unique thing about these charging stations is that many will be equipped with solar cells mounted on the weather canopy that will generate more energy over the course of a year than is consumed by Tesla vehicles using the supercharger stations, resulting in a positive transfer of power back to the electricity grid. Current active stations in California can be found in Barstow, Hawthorne, Lebec, Coalinga, Gilroy and Folsom. By 2015, Tesla hopes to expand their supercharger network to over 100 stations.

California is known as one of the largest automobile markets in the United States. They also have some of the strictest government environment regulations which has made them one of the leading markets for hybrid vehicles. Because of this, the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor feel that the demand for plug-in and electric cars will follow a similar pattern.

California was the first state were the Chevy Volt, Nissan leaf and the Ford Focus Electric was released, and where fuel cell vehicles are leased in small numbers. According to the CAR report the demand for cleaner technologies is fed by incentives such as tax credits, priority parking spaces for environmentally friendly vehicles, and because California has invested into infrastructure to accommodate the electric vehicle.

Coulomb Technologies, a leader in electric vehicle charging station infrastructure, has announced that they will be spending $37 million installing networked charging stations throughout the United States. The program will provide almost 5000 charging stations in Austin, Texas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Fla., Sacramento, Calif., the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area, Redmond, Wash., and Washington DC.

A wide network of charging stations is expected to help quell fears that future electric car owners won’t be able to drive far beyond their home charging base. In support of the ChargePoint America program, three automakers have committed to deliver electric vehicles in designated US regions. The Chevrolet Volt, the Ford Transit Connect Electric and Ford Focus Electric through the “Ford Blue Oval ChargePoint Program”, and the smart for two electric drive will be introduced along with this program.

ChargePoint America will offer both home and public charging stations to individuals and businesses. Charging stations owners can set their own prices for charging through the Flex Billing™ system. 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. Those same stations can also be configured to provide “free” access to EV drivers.

Coulomb’s ChargePoint® Network, is open to all drivers of plug-in vehicles and provides authentication, management, and real-time control for the networked electric vehicle charging stations. The network of electric vehicle charging stations is accessible to all plug-in drivers by making a toll free call to the 24/7 number on each charging station, or signing up for a ChargePoint Network monthly access plan and obtaining a ChargePass™ smart card. Other future payment options include using any smart (RFID) credit/debit card to authorize a session or using a standard credit or debit card at a remote payment station (RPS) to pay for charging sessions. To locate available charging stations, visit mychargepoint.net and click “Find Stations”.

The electric car has been around for a long time. In the late 1930’s Robert Anderson (A Scottish inventor) built the first crude electric carriage. Over the years the car has been improved to a point where it could be a practical mode of transportation for many people. One of the main reasons we don’t see many on the roads is because charging a large number of electric cars will require huge upgrades to the nation’s infrastructure

SolarCity and Tesla Motors hope to change the amount of electric cars on the road by installing solar-powered car charging stations in Rabobank locations along California Route 101. These quick charging “gas stations” delivers up to 70 amps (240 volts) of electricity which would charge a Telsa Roadster in about 3.5 hours. SolarCity has also installed over 100 in home-charging stations throughout the state.

The Beautiful Earth Group, a solar and wind farms company started last year, has paired up with BMW and the mini, to build solar charging stations in the Red Hook, Brooklyn area. These stations are truly “green”. Built out of recycled shipping containers the station can provide enough energy to charge the Mini E in three hours. Lex Heslin, chief executive of Beautiful Earth, claims two firsts: He got the keys to the first electric version of the Mini Cooper in New York and his company is operating the city’s first solar E.V. charging station.

Silicon Valley based company, Coulomb Technologies, have been building charging stations around the world since 2007. Their recent partnership with Envision Solar has allowed them to integrate their ChargePoint technology into a “solar grove” at Dell headquarters in Round Rock, Tex. This system provided 131,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, and doubles as shade for 56 parking spaces.

With the environmental issues we face today, solar charging could become big business. Ideally, solar charging stations will be connected to the grid so they can feed electricity back when the power is not needed for car-charging. When the sun isn’t shining, cars can be charged on grid power.