New EV charging stations unveiled


Anda Ray, Senior
Vice President of
Environment and
Technology, TVA
Knoxville, TN and Toledo, OH, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — January 28, 2011 – Research on electric vehicle charging stations is continuing apace and two new types of station have been unveiled in recent days the Tennessee Valley Authority and Electric Power Research Institute and the University of Toledo.

The TVA/EPRI prototype Smart Modal Area Recharge Terminal (SMART) station with six parking spaces is solar powered (about 2 kW of PV panels per space), is able to store electricity (about 5 kWh per space) and also supply this electricity to the grid.

Located at EPRI’s Knoxville Research Laboratory, the station will be tested for three to six months, along with another prototype which is being built by the nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Thereafter further stations, with a total of 125 charging spaces, are expected to be built in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville and possibly other sites over the next few years.

“Electricity as a transportation fuel can benefit the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and it can save consumers money by lowering their driving costs,” said Anda Ray, TVA senior vice president of Environment and Technology. “These all-in-one charging stations are important to the development of electric vehicles and also to TVA’s goal to provide cleaner, low cost energy.”

The University of Toledo’s charging station is a prototype “smart” station that can be programmed to search for the lowest energy demand time and then draw down that cheaper electricity, and also to sell back a car battery’s stored power at times of peak demand.

A total of three smart charging devices have been installed at UT, where they will be used to recharge the University’s existing fleet of hybrid vehicles, and also for research on topical issues such as software and standards.

According to Chuck Lehnert, UT vice president for facilities and construction, the university wants to be a lead researcher in the field of charging stations. “This new technology represents a paradigm shifts. We’re hoping we can influence industry to come up with a standard way," he said.

Meanwhile the first Nissan LEAF in Texas has been delivered to Reliant Energy customers Jimmy and Christie Sauers of Seabrook.  The vehicle comes with a time-of-use price plan and will utilise the privately funded eVgosm network, in which Reliant has an interest through its parent company NRG Energy.