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Engineers at the Northwest National Laboratory in Washington have developed a new charging device for future electric cars.

The so-called smart charger wirelessly communicates with utility companies to determine rates and grid demand. Electronically armed with this information, the device can ensure consumers will get the lowest available prices for charring their cars, while at the same time avoid overwhelming grid capacity. If it is sensed that grid strain is high the device will delay charging. So too will it delay charging until rates are lowest.

The consumer, for example, may simply plug their car in overnight or during their workday and return to it several hours later to find it fully charged. The charger would have done the "dirty work" during that interval to protect the needs of both the consumer and the utility company.

"Using the device could save up to $150 a year for electric vehicle owners who pay based on when they charge their vehicle," says PNNL engineer Michael Kintner-Meyer

Source (PNNL)