Automakers are working with various electric utilities around the world to figure out how to best integrate vehicle with the grid. One of the requireents for the coming flood of plug-in cars is a way to smarten up the cars' energy use. A research team at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed a Smart Charger Controller that could eliminate the need for automakers to develop proprietary charging controllers in electric vehicles, whether BEVs or PHEVs.

Developed by Michael Kintner-Meyer and his team over 15 months, the PNNL Smart Charger Controller receives wireless signals that are broadcast by the utility and contain power prices to tell the car when to charge and when to stop sucking juice from the grid. The controller can also sense "stress condidions" and pause charging if a grid overload situation is imminent. Kintner-Meyer said the devices could save plug-in vehicle owners up tp $150 a year in energy costs by taking advantage of off-peak energy prices.

[Source: PNNL via Green Car Advisor]