Hey buddy, can I bum a charge?

Start-up Xatori encourages electric-car drivers to share charging infrastructure.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

One of my colleagues at SmartPlanet, Melissa Mahony, published a blog post this morning about a new software application that helps you find both electric vehicle charging stations. The twist is that it doesn't just ID the public one, it points to the ones that might be hidden behind your garage door.

The software, from a Palo Alto, Calif-based start-up called Xatori, is an application that runs on your iPhone or iPad (coming soon for the Android platform). You can take a mini tour in the company's YouTube video:

Mind you, your charging station wouldn't be listed unless you decided it was to be listed. But the Xatori team figures that neighbors will be neighbors and that electric-car owners will be inclined to help each other out, as the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging builds out.

Speaking of which, it seems appropriate to mention other sites and resources that I have come across that are focused at least partially on the same goal: helping drivers find charging stations.

At the end of January, I heard from someone representing a web site that maps electric charging stations all the world. The drivers are the ones making the comments and offering tips about the locations being added. The video below is a tutorial of how to update the site. And, as you might expect, there is a mobile application in the works.

Here are some other established players working to build out electric charging infrastructure:

Better Place, which has just announced some of its pricing plans for Europe, is aiming at parking lots and public centers that it is establishing with local utilities.

Car Charging Group, is seeking to work with commercial real estate owners (think condominium developers or parking garage managers) that might be able to establish a residual income stream by offering charging stations at their locations.

ECOtality North America supports more than 5,500 across the United States. Just this week, it signed a deal with food retailer Fred Meyer (part of Kroger) to install Blink Level 2 Electric Vehicle Commercial Pedestal Charging Stations at certain food stores in Oregon and Washington state starting in the summer of 2011.

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