General Electric today announced the creation of a new $200 million fund to stimulate new electrical “smart grid” ideas and detailed plans for a massive rollout of electric car charging stations.
GE, one of the world’s biggest companies with a large stake in the electricity utilities, made the announcement at an event that also featured venture capitalists who are teaming up on the $200 million fund.
GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said the goal is to marry the creative, entrepreneurial creativity of the venture capital community with GE’s ability to deploy systems on a global scale.
“We can get things going with massive distribution,” he said. “We have 50.000 sales people and 50,000 engineers.”
Paul Koontz of Foundation Capital said the role of venture capitalists will be to “bring entrepreneurial DNA to this effort.”
Venture capitalists see great opportunities to make money by finding new ways to generate, transmit and store energy, as well as to encourage efficient use by consumers.
Ray Lane, of venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, likened the opportunity to a “slow, fat rabbit” that’s easy to seize.
Electric-car charging stations, envisioned as a vital extension of a “smart” power grid, are being rolled out as carmakers ranging from Tesla to Nissan to General Motors prepare production of more all-electric cars. Coulomb Technologies, a Silicon Valley startup, is also
developing an electric-car charging station.