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Energy Department Awards Nearly $7 Million for Research to Reduce Costs of Electric Vehicle Chargers

published: 2011-12-28 16:26

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to reduce America’s dependence on oil through advanced vehicle technologies, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced awards totaling nearly $7 million in research and development funding that will help to reduce the current costs of electric vehicle chargers by 50 percent over the next three years.  With support from the Energy Department, manufacturers in California, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania will work to improve the development and design of charging equipment.  This research will promote “smart” charging capabilities that can help ensure electric vehicles enhance, rather than strain, existing electrical grid capacity.

“Improving the functionality and affordability of electric vehicle chargers is an important step in supporting the deployment of electric vehicles that can help to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil,” said Secretary Chu.  “Developing smart electric vehicle chargers will provide more options to consumers and accelerate the build-out of charging infrastructure in ways that strengthen the electric grid.”

With electric vehicles, smart chargers and smart grid technologies, the grid can more efficiently manage the availability and reliability of power, especially during peak times and at popular charging locations.

Two of the four selected projects will focus on improving electric vehicle chargers that attach to consumers’ homes and are used by the owners to charge their vehicles while they are at home. The other two selected projects will focus on chargers used at commercial and public locations to charge large numbers of vehicles, including commercial fleets of delivery vehicles.  

The four projects selected for awards are listed below.  These research and development investments will leverage additional investments from the industry grantees.  Final award amounts are subject to negotiation.

Delta Products Corporation – Fremont, California 
DOE share: $1,997,450; Recipient share: $1,441,770

Delta will streamline the development of residential electric vehicle chargers that rely on low-cost secure wireless networks that can connect the chargers directly to electric utilities. The project will work to minimize the cost of communications between the charger and the electric utility and, at the same time, meet the local demand for smart charging.

Siemens Corporate Research – Princeton, New Jersey 
DOE share: $1,617,619; Recipient share:  $747,552

Siemens will redesign its current electric vehicle supply equipment system and charging stations in residential areas to enable flexible, intelligent control of charging, so that power quality and service reliability are maintained on the local distribution grid.

General Electric Global Research – Niskayuna, New York 
DOE share: $1,362,318; Recipient share:  $819,365

General Electric will improve the design and infrastructure for commercial chargers for fleets of electric vehicles operated by companies, including FedEx.

Eaton Corporation – Moon Township, Pennsylvania
DOE share: $1,837,004; Recipient share:  $991,418

Eaton will develop and demonstrate commercial electric vehicle chargers that can work with and support the smart grid, including providing two-way communications with the electric utility and coordinating with a community’s smart meter network.

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