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Grid Friendly™ Charger Controller

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Contact PNNL About This Technology

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

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.
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.

Technology Marketing Summary

The Grid Friendly™Charger Controller technology allows electric car owners to recharge their rides at times of lowest cost and least stress on the grid.

Description

Electric vehicles are growing in popularity, and while they represent a cleaner alternative to fossil-fueled vehicles, their increasing may stress the grid if this new and growing load is left unmanaged. What if there was a smart way to charge these vehicles to reduce costs for the consumer while assuring a stable electric grid?

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed algorithms and a technology for simplifying electric vehicle charging. These patent pending technologies, if integrated with other components, can initiate the communication between the vehicle and the grid to decide the optimal time to re-charge.

Daily battery charging is fully automatic with the Grid Friendly™ Charger Controller. After initial set-up of the Controller, the consumer plugs in the electric vehicle and then forgets about it. In the morning—or any other specified time—the battery will be fully "topped off." 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 Grid Friendly Charger Controller will communicate with the utility’s smart meter to receive a rate schedule or electric pricing updates in real-time. The Smart Charger Controller will then determine an optimal charging strategy that reduces the electricity cost to the customer.

The Grid Friendly Charger Controller has another feature, also developed at PNNL, that protects the electrical grid during high grid stress conditions and assist in integrating large amounts of intermittent renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar technologies into the grid. 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.

Benefits
  • Simplicity for charging using the consumer's preferences and settings
  • Reduced electricity costs for consumers—the Smart
  • Charger Controller determines the optimal charging strategy
  • Grid support by smoothing out supply and demand stresses on the grid to prevent power outages; also help operate the grid safely under high intermittent renewable energy contributions.
Applications and Industries

Plug-in electric vehicles

Technology Status
Development StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
Licensed - Non-exclusively licensed to ZAPAvailable07/02/201003/28/2011

Contact PNNL About This Technology

To: Jennifer Hodas<jennifer.hodas@pnnl.gov>