The devices could help stabilize the grid, and make charging electric cars cheaper.
This spring, GE will start selling a line of "smart charging stations," devices that communicate with utilities to optimize charging, for electric vehicles. The technology could be key to ensuring that electric cars don't strain the power grid, and it could cut down on consumer electricity bills. Eventually, because the charging stations could help stabilize the grid, they could allow utilities to rely more on intermittent renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind power.
The GE products come as automakers introduce a new wave of electric vehicles. GM, Nissan and Ford, for example, plan to start selling electric vehicles this year, and others will follow. While other companies already offer electric vehicle chargers, GE's products could be important because they're made to work with the rest of the company's "smart grid" infrastructure, which stretches from the power plant, through the grid, all the way to smart appliances in the home. The company also has close relationships to utilities, which could speed adoption.