GE WattStation   (Source: GE)
Cuts charge time and uses smart grid technology

General Electric (GE) has announced their newly developed electric vehicle charger called the GE WattStation. The WattStation is expected to help the public embrace the idea of electric vehicles (EVs) by using smart grid technology and decreasing the time needed for a full charge.

There are still, however, a lot of skeptics within the general public that are afraid of turning over to the electric side of transportation. But according to Steve Fludder, the vice president of GE ecomagination, having charging stations that are quick, easy, and readily available when needed is the key to getting the skeptics to accept the idea of and possibly pursue electric vehicles

"For more than 100 years, GE has worked to optimize energy use. Given our expertise in electrical distribution, WattStation is a natural progression in our commitment to creating cutting edge innovation for the next century," said Dan Heintzelman, president and CEO of GE Energy Services.

The WattStation was designed by Yves Behar, a renowned industrial designer and founder of San Francisco-based Fuseproject, which is a branding and design firm Behar started in 1999. Fuseproject's clients include big names like Disney, Hewlett Packard, Nike, Microsoft and Target. 

The WattStation cuts charging time on a 24 kWh battery for an electric vehicle from 12-18 hours to approximately four to eight hours. In addition, the smart grid technology will aid utility companies in managing the effect of electric vehicles on both regional and local grids, which will ultimately allow them to gauge electricity demand and provide access to more charging stations.

"Good design is when a new technology enters our life and makes it simpler, beautiful and healthy," said Behar. "The GE WattStation achieves this with a welcoming design that is seamlessly integrated in the urban landscape and becomes a natural part of our daily driving routine."

The WattStation will be available commercially in 2011, but GE expects to release a home version of the charger in late 2010. The WattStation is a large step forward for both GE and the adoption of electric vehicle's, but it isn't the only Earth-friendly news floating around GE as of late. 

GE recently signed two new partnerships that could help raise the popularity of EV's. The first was signed in April of this year with Project Get Ready, which is a nonprofit organization that helps communities prepare for electric vehicles by planning and designing the electric grids. The second was a separate three-year Memorandum of Understanding  signed in May 2010 withNissan that will develop new technologies to build a smart-charging infrastructure.

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