Wytheville-based Evantran on Thursday announced partnerships with organizations that will test its wireless recharging system for electric cars.
Rebecca Hough, the company’s chief operating officer, introduced partners Google, Duke Energy, Hertz, Clemson University and the Commonwealth of Virginia during the launch of the company’s “Apollo Program” at Capitol Square in Richmond.
The organizations will try out Evatran’s Plugless Power recharging systems during the next three months and provide the company input for the next phase of its development. Evatran expects to add another eight to 12 partners in the second phase of the program.
Google, for example, has been using a prototype of the recharging system at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters since last year. Now the search engine company plans to expand use of the system to its fleet of electric vehicles that are shared by employees.
Hertz on the other hand is trying a variety of charging systems, including Evatran’s, as it expands its offering of electrical vehicles to rental customers.
Gov. Bob McDonnell praised Evatran as a pioneer in the development of technology that will encourage the use of electric vehicles and lessen the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. He added that the company epitomizes the spirit he wants to foster in declaring 2012 the “Year of the Entrepreneur” in Virginia.
Evatran’s system does not require the car to plugged into an electrical outlet to be recharged. The car’s battery recharges just by being close to recharging station.
Hough invited people attending the launch event to test drive two electric vehicles, a Chevy Volt and a Nissan Leaf, that had been charged with the Evatran system.
Evatran has received a $1.5 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Commission and another $250,000 from state and local governments to develop the recharging system. The company’s goal is to have 84 jobs by 2013.
Evatran currently has 15 employees and expects to add 15 to 20 more when production begins this fall.
Hough explained that the Apollo Program takes its name from the U.S. space program of the 1960s. The intent of the program, she said, is not to focus attention on Evatran but on the bigger goal of encouraging adoption of electric vehicles.
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