By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

On the eve of Tesla’s IPO, Richard Lowenthal of Coulomb Technologies discusses the vital role of charging stations in creating a thriving ecosystem for electric vehicles. Lowenthal, a Silicon Valley based maker of charging stations, argues that a comprehensive network of charging stations is a vital prerequisite for the roll out of electric cars such as the Tesla, Smart Car, Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf in the next two years.

Lowenthal explains why a visit to Tesla Motors inspired him to launch his green company after a successful career in high tech at StrataCom and Stardent Computers. For its part, Coulomb Technologies is still in the early stages of installing charging stations and faces competition from the larger, better funded Better Place which offers battery swaps as well as charging. However, Coulomb recently won a $15 Million grant from the Department of Energy and its ChargePoint America program is scheduled to install 4600 charging stations in nine strategic regions of the United States by September 2011.

Reports indicate that despite Tesla’s questionable financials  – the company has failed to have a profitable quarter –  investors are “giddy” about today’s IPO. It seems that for some, the “cool factor” and zero to 60 in under 4 seconds trumps all….at least in the short term.

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This interview was recorded at the CreaTV Studios in Silicon Valley on April 20, 2010. For more interviews with Tesla experts click here

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