Out in San Francisco today, GE is unveiling a new smart-grid-connected electric car charger called the WattStation. Designed in part by renowned industrial designer Yves Behar, the WattStation is intended to become a new icon for electric car drivers. The top angled circle is surrounded by LEDs that glow to indicate if the charger is available or not. More interestingly, though, are statements like "GE WattStation significantly decreases time needed for vehicle charging," and this, from the press release:
At first glance, that sounds like the WattStation has some sort of fast-charging witchery going on, but really it just means that the WattStation can handle Level 2 (240V) charging.The GE WattStation on average 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 WattStation was brought life with the help of Project Get Ready, the non-profit initiative that grew out of Rocky Mountain Institute's (RMI) Smart Garage Summit. It also can connect to the smart grid and allow utilities to manage and understand vehicle charging impacts. The GE WattStation will be commercially available globally in 2011, and a home version will be unveiled later this year. There's a video of Behar talking about the WattStation after the jump.