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.
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.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA
The Grid Friendly Charger Controller is currently available for licensing.
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.