Electric vehicles are growing in popularity, and while they represent a cleaner alternative to fossil-fueled vehicles, their increased use may stress the grid if this growing load is left unmanaged. A need exists for a method of charging these vehicles that reduces costs for the consumer, while assuring a stable electric grid.

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

Researchers have developed algorithms and a technology for simplifying electric vehicle charging. These technologies, if integrated with other components, can initiate the communication between the vehicle and the grid to determine the optimal time to recharge.

Daily battery charging is fully automatic with the Grid Friendly™ Charger Controller. After initial setup of the controller, the consumer plugs in the electric vehicle and then forgets about it. At a specified time, the battery will be fully charged. Not only will the charging be done during times of lowest cost (assuming electricity rates vary during the course of a day), but also in a way that helps manage demand on the grid.

Wireless technology embedded in the controller will communicate 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.

A feature in the system protects the electrical grid during high grid stress conditions, and assists in integrating large amounts of intermittent renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar technologies, into the grid. The Grid Friendly technology recognizes 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.

For more information, contact Jennifer J. Hodas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 509-372-6960.

Tech Briefs Magazine

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

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