A recent report by Pike Research has identified two front runners in the still-only budding electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) industry.

The Colorado-based clean-tech research company said for now it is Coulomb Technologies and ECOtality based on their strategy and execution.

“The electric vehicle charging equipment market is in its formative stages, and business models are still developing as vendors gain experience with charging station deployments,” said senior analyst John Gartner. “Pure-play EVSE vendors are taking the early lead, but looming behind them are several companies that announced products in 2010 and will be shipping in volume during 2011. These major players – Siemens, GE, and Eaton, among others – have developed the makings of a good product strategy, but have yet to execute on their extensive global resources and marketing channels.”

GM Vice Chairman Tom Stephens connects the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended range capabilities to the newly installed charging station on the front steps of the GM Global Headquarters in Detroit.

Coulomb was the top pick due to the company’s “successful technology partnerships, global sales network, and extensive product portfolio,” Pike Research said. Its ChargePoint America program has been the recipient of grants , and has a growing network .

As for ECOtality, it is riding on the strength of a contract to provide equipment to the federally funded EV Project – on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy. Presently the company is working on a $115 million DOE grant to install more than 15,000 electric car charging stations in 18 communities where the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt are being released.

How else did Pike decide on a rank order?

The “Pike Pulse Report: Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment” looked at 10 of the top EVSE suppliers and rated them based upon on 12 criteria. These criteria were: strategy and execution, including go-to-market strategy, product portfolio, partnerships, innovation, reach, market share, pricing, and staying power."

The vendors were then profiled, rated, and ranked with the goal of providing an objective assessment of these companies’ relative strengths and weaknesses in the emerging EVSE marketplace.

Pike rated EVSE providers Elektromotive and AeroVironment in third and fourth place.

Elektromotive has been doing well in Europe and has sold into nearly a dozen countries in all. AeroVironment has a strong technical background based on its experience developing charging equipment for industrial vehicles.

Top 10 Vendors:

1. Coulomb Technologies
2. ECOtality
3. Elektromotive
4. AeroVironment
5. General Electric
6. Siemens
7. Eaton
8. Leviton
9. ClipperCreek
10. GoSmart

As with many surveys, the results are what they are for when the survey was taken – and Pike fully says as much in the lead quote.

The researchers concede the results reflect the current state of the industry and note that vendor ratings are likely to change as the market matures and becomes more competitive.

An executive summary of the report is available for free download on Pike Research's Web site . Or if you are in the industry, and need all the details, you can buy the complete report for $2,800.