Watt's Up?GE knows that the only way to change our future is to create innovative alternatives to current automobile technology. This means that we can't expect consumers to switch, en masse, to electric vehicles you plug in at your home. There needs to at least be a gradual switch to electric charging stations. Until recently, we didn't have the technology to quickly charge a car - the large batteries required to run an engine required 12 or more hours at a charging station.
The GE WattStation promises to be the change we need, with the technology (and looks) that make charging an electric car quick and easy. Here's a run-down of exactly what the WattStation is, and how it works.
The WattStation is a module designed by Yves Behar, who realized that sleek design and user-friendliness just might be the push this technology needed. His LED and aluminum charger blends into urban landscapes, like a parking meter or sign. The display makes it easy to see which chargers are available, and should make them easy to find when driving around crowded city streets.
The location of these "meters" is another feature meant to make the WattStation popular. At first, these stations will appear in urban, downtown areas where the most electric vehicles are expected to be in use. GE is also pioneering the technology that will provide a module to be installed in owner's homes. They are being produced by ServiceMagic, which has a long history of providing reliable customer-service for users.
More importantly, how quick and simple will WattStations be? GE claims that they will be able to charge a car battery in four to eight hours, which is certainly an improvement over previous car charging technologies. This is the perfect length of time for individuals who drive to work and can charge their cars during the work day. However, if you're a road warrior and need a charge up that takes only as much time as a gas pump, you may have to wait for more technological developments for WattStations to be of any use to you.
WattStations should be appearing in parking lots and home garages in 2011, and GE claims that for every 10,000 adopters, there will be a 33,000 metric ton reduction in CO2 in the atmosphere. Only time will tell how popular WattStations really will be, but given the numbers, hopefully this is the technological breakthrough that electric cars need to become true replacements.
Jillian Gile is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on Online Schooling for Guide to Online Schools.