Longtime electric-vehicle drivers will tell you that, when it comes maximizing efficiency while driving, smoothness counts. And it looks like the same goes for the electricity of the buildings charging those vehicles. Which is why General Electric is running a pilot program of plug-in vehicle chargers in New York, Wired reports.

GE is working with Con Edison and Columbia University researchers to develop a plug-in charging system that can forecast peak electricity usage times of certain buildings and then – and this is the trick – adjust car-charging levels accordingly. For instance, weather patterns and upcoming holidays will be factored into projected electricity use. Knowing the highest energy usage is important because a building's monthly electricity bill is impacted by peak-level use, not just total use. Since peak-level electricity is more expensive for utilities to procure. GE says its program for leveling off electricity use may save a building where 100 plug-ins are plugged in by as much as $10,000 a month, this is especially true for larger structures in New York City. GE is running the pilot program at five plug-in vehicle charging stations at a FedEx delivery-truck depot in New York City as well as at upstate New York's GE Research Center headquarters.

"Smarter" electric-vehicle charging systems have been topical as plug-in vehicle sales have grown. Earlier this year, General Motors led a group of eight automakers that worked with utilities such as DTE Energy, Duke Energy, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric to develop charging systems where vehicles can "communicate" with each other to level off demands on the grid.


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