Soon you'll be able to charge an EV from your sofa

Customers of US technology giant Cisco will soon be able to charge their electric vehicles at a touch of a button thanks to a partnership with EV charging firm ECOtality.

The company's Home Energy Controller, which allows homeowners to monitor and control energy loads of systems such as pool pumps, water heaters and air conditioning via a touchscreen device, will also connect to the Blink Home Charging Station, ECOtality said January 31.

This means that while sitting on the couch, customers will be able to check the charge level of their vehicle and remotely control the charging as they would any other home system.

Although home-energy monitoring systems such as that by Cisco are relatively new, they are expected to grow rapidly in popularity over the coming years - not least because electric vehicles are expected to double the amount of energy consumed by the average household.

For instance, ECOtality's Blink Home Charger is a Level 2 charger, which delivers faster charging speeds than a conventional US outlet because it uses a 240 volt AC input.

This extra load, expected to become commonplace in the coming years, creates a more pressing need for electricity to be controlled smartly, with the so-called "smart grid" expected to link power-hungry consumers with the electricity network in the most efficient way.

Last year, Ford announced a tie-up with Microsoft which will see the two companies work together on smart energy management by ensuring the new electric Ford Focus can "talk to" Hohm, Microsoft's own home energy management software.

Toyota, meanwhile, plans to introduce a "Smart Center" next year, which monitors energy use from all over the home to ensure that electric vehicles - such as its plug-in Prius - are recharged at the most economical time.

http://www.cisco.com

http://www.ecotality.com

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