Eaton advances solar electric vehicle charging station

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Updated Jul 28, 2010

Eaton Corp. announced its collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute and the Tennessee Valley Authority for a prototype integrated solar-assisted electric vehicle charging station to be erected at EPRI’s research laboratory in Knoxville, Tenn. Additional stations are planned for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Nashville, Chattanooga and another site in Knoxville.

“Solar-assisted electric vehicle charging stations are a crucial step toward the development of a regional system of clean fuel for electric vehicles,” says Tom Schafer, vice president and general manager of Eaton’s Commercial Distribution Products Division. “We are confident that these stations will enable a cleaner transportation future with plug-in electric vehicles.”

The collaboration comes on the heels of Eaton’s creation of a new business unit that will be responsible for the overall direction and profitable growth of the emerging electric vehicle and transportation infrastructure business within Eaton’s Electrical Sector. Eaton has named Tim Old the new business unit manager of this new Electric Transportation Infrastructure unit.

The prototype charging station used by EPRI and TVA – also known as a Smart Modal Area Recharge Terminal, or SMART station – will provide information on energy usage, the time when the equipment is used, the amount of solar-generated electricity produced and stored, and the potential impact of load clusters – when several vehicles are refueled at the same time – on distribution system reliability.

The collaboration is intended to create a model charging facility that will charge electric vehicles quickly and reliably, and also to produce data to assist in implementing key components of a smart electrical grid. These components could include integrating renewables onto the grid, utilizing a battery storage system, assessing the impact on reliability of a distributed resource generation, testing advance metering infrastructure and analyzing electric vehicle supply equipment.