Hopefully before too, too long, the majority of vehicles on the road will be electric. There could be one potential problem with all those EV’s in use however - the huge load that would be put on municipal power supplies when all those vehicles are simultaneously plugged in after their owners get home from work. Fortunately, our oft-featured friends over at Germany’s Fraunhofer group have come up with a solution. They’ve designed a station that charges your vehicle when there’s power to spare.
In typical use, an EV wouldn’t always need to be fully recharged as soon as it was parked. As long as it was done sometime while the car’s owner was asleep or at work, the end result would be the same. Utilizing one of Fraunhofer’s smart charging stations, users could choose between an immediate recharge, or a longer one. If they chose the second option, they would enter the time that the car was next needed. The charger would then choose an earlier time of day when the local power grid was under the least load, and recharge the car’s batteries then. The system would also keep track of municipal power from renewable sources, and might choose a charging time based on maximum daylight or wind velocity.
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A display on the station would indicate recharging progress, costs incurred, and the amount of electricity used.
Dominik Noeren, one of the developers of the smart charging station, likes the idea of electricity rates that are based on the time of day. If someone needed to recharge right away, they might pay a higher rate to do so during peak hours. If they were willing to wait, however, the charging station would select a time based not only on availability of power, but also on the lowest rates.