US electricity giant unveils EV charger

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Indy Lifestyle Online

General Electric has unveiled its first electric vehicle charger, the "WattStation."

Designed by Yves Behar, the WattStation will be available in a variety of bright colors and is scheduled to be available for home locations later in 2010 and commercial users next year.

It uses level 2 charging, a fast-charging system that decreases charge time from 12 to 18 hours to 4 to 8 hours for a full-cycle charge.

The cylindrical unit features a large head ringed with LED lights so that public users can identify whether the charging station is available or not, although the design of the home unit is likely to vary slightly.

Interestingly, General Electric says that its WattStation will offer an "optional smart grid interface," potentially helping users to manage charging times to minimize cost for both themselves and the electricity provider.

According to reports in the New York Times, the home version of the WattStation will sell for between $1,000 to $1,500 (€785 - €1,178).

As the first major manufacturer to announce a home charging device, General Electric's entry into the market could prove significant - although Siemens announced a tie-up with charging manufacturer Coulomb in June, the engineering and electronics giant has yet to unveil its first home-charging device.

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