Who

The Grid Friendly™ Charger Controller offers reduced electricity costs for consumers of electric vehicles by determining the optimal charging strategy. It also smooths supply and demand stresses on the electric grid to prevent power outages, helping to operate the grid safely under high intermittent renewable energy contributions.

Wireless signals exchange information between the automobile and a residential charging station regarding the amount of electricity needed, current electricity costs, and a decision to charge (or not).

What

The Grid Friendly Charger Controller enables fully automatic daily battery charging. After initial setup, the consumer plugs in the electric vehicle and then forgets about it. In the morning — or at any other specified time — the battery will be fully “topped off.” Not only will the charging be done during times of lowest cost, but also in a way that helps manage demand on the grid. Wireless technology embedded in the controller communicates with the utility’s smart meter to receive a rate schedule or electric pricing updates in real time. The controller will then determine an optimal charging strategy that reduces the electricity cost to the customer. The controller also protects the electrical grid by recognizing when the grid is under stress, and briefly reduces the charging current to the battery. This sensitivity to grid stress may be critical in preventing power outages.

This graphical representation shows the concept controller box installed in the vehicle and initiating communication with a residential or municipal charging station.

Where

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA

When

The Grid Friendly Charger Controller is currently available for licensing.

Why

Electric vehicles are growing in popularity, and while they represent a cleaner alternative to fossil-fuel vehicles, their increased use may stress the grid if this new and growing load is left unmanaged.

Contact Peter Christensen, Deputy Director for Technology Commercialization, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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