SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A Bay Area startup betting on the future may have a new place for you to plug in, but competition isn’t far behind.
A car pulls up to an apartment building. A camera recognizes the license plate. The door opens. The driver enters and plugs in. This could be the filling station of the future for a whole lot of people in the big city.
A company called PowerTree has developed a system they hope will make solar power and electric vehicles possible for people who rent. The company pays a building owner to install solar on the roof and then leases a few parking spaces to become charging stations.
“Then we provide electric vehicle charging and in both cases, it’s kind of a flat rate, all-you-can-eat service model,” said Stacey Reineccius, co-founder of PowerTree.
It should cost from $40 to $150 a month, depending on what kind of car you own and anyone participating in the program can use any station in the system. They say it’s a needed service most landlords wouldn’t offer on their own.
“There was no economic incentive for them to do that,” said co-founder Frank Gobar. “They also had additional liability and maintenance.”
By summer, the company will begin opening stations but their biggest challenge may come when PG&E begins offering charging facilities in the next few years. The concern is that the state will create regulations favoring the utility over smaller operators.
The world is becoming more competitive for power, even for parking spaces. Sit in one place for too long and someone’s going to be nipping at your heels.
PowerTree says more than 100 apartment buildings in San Francisco, Berkeley and Emeryville will be fitted with their equipment in the coming year.