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Energy Dept to Fund R&D on Vehicle Charging Stations

Plug-in electric vehicle (Idaho National Lab)

(Idaho National Lab)

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) announced grants totaling some $7 million for research and development to help improve the performance and flexibility of electric vehicle chargers on the nation’s power grids. The funds will go to electric vehicle (EV) charging station manufacturers in California, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, who are expected to contribute a substantial portion of the financing.

The research, says DoE, will promote charging capabilities that help ensure EVs enhance, rather than strain, existing electrical grid capacity. Smarter chargers and grid technologies that result from this research are expected to help the grid more efficiently manage the availability and reliability of power, especially during peak times and at popular charging locations.

Two of the four awards will fund projects that improve electric vehicle chargers at consumers’ homes and by owners to communicate with the grid while charging at home. The other two projects will focus on chargers at commercial stations to charge large numbers of vehicles, including fleets of delivery vehicles, as well as at public charging locations.

The four funded projects are:

– Delta Products Corp. in Fremont, California (DoE share $2 million, company share $1.44 million). Delta will streamline residential electric vehicle chargers relying on low-cost secure wireless networks that can connect the chargers directly to electric utilities, to minimize the cost of communications between the charger and the electric utility and meet local demand for smart charging.

– Siemens Research in Princeton, New Jersey (DoE share $1.6 million, company share $0.75 million). Siemens will redesign its EV supply equipment system and charging stations in residential areas to make possible more flexible control of charging to help maintain power quality and service reliability on local distribution grids.

– General Electric Research in Niskayuna, New York (DoE share $1,36 million, company share $0.82 million). General Electric will improve the design and infrastructure for chargers for fleets of commercial EVs operated by FedEx and other companies.

– Eaton Corp. in Moon Township, Pennsylvania (DoE share $1,84 million, company share $0.99 million). Eaton will develop and demonstrate commercial electric vehicle chargers that provide two-way communications with the electric utility and coordinate with a community’s smart meter network.

Read more: ARPA-E to Fund $130 Million for New Energy R&D

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