GE has unveiled a charging station for future electric cars that will be usable in the home or in public settings for fast charge times. What makes the new WattStation particularly unique as well is that the company teamed with noted industrial designer Yves Behar to design these rather eloquent looking devices.
A typical WattStation, according to GE, “decreases electric vehicle charging time from 12-18 hours to as little as four to eight hours compared to standard charging ‘level 1’, assuming a full-cycle charge for a 24 kWh battery.” The stations, which will be available globally in 2011, also will be smart grid ready, meaning there will be some form of two way communication (most likely wireless) between them and a local utility providing power. This function will allow the utility to “manage the impact of electric vehicles on the local and regional grids.”
Behar, in his notes on designing the WattStation, sought to create “an electric-car-charger design that is as durable as street furniture, as visible as a light beacon, and as beautiful as street greenery.” He wanted to move away from the “typical large scale, angular and brash gas pump” look some might associate with a device that fuels a vehicle. He notes that features designed into the WattStation include an LED light right that indicates availability status of the charger as well as a self-retractable charging cable.
“Widespread electric vehicle adoption depends on having charging stations that integrate the need for quick charging with the personal need for easy functionality,” said Steve Fludder, vice president of GE ecomagination, in a statement. “GE WattStation will meet this challenge.”