Richland, WA, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- April 16, 2010 - Smart charger controller technology for electric vehicles developed at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has been licensed by California consumer electric vehicle provider ZAP for use in its charging stations internationally.

The controller technology allows electric vehicles owners to recharge their vehicles at times of lowest cost and least stress on the grid.

The vehicle owner programs the controller by setting the time he or she wants the battery to be fully charged. Then the controller, using a low range wireless technology, communicates with the power grid and determines the best and cheapest time to recharge vehicles. By charging vehicles during off-peak times, the controller saves electric car owners money and helps maximize the capacity of the electrical grid during periods of peak demand.

“If millions of owners plug in their electric vehicles to recharge after work at the same time, it could cause stress on the grid,” said PNNL engineer Michael Kintner-Meyer. “The smart charger controller will prevent those peaks in demand from plug-in vehicles and enable our existing grid to be used more efficiently.”

A recent study by the PNNL found that America's existing power grid could meet the needs of about 158 million vehicles, or 70 percent of all U.S. light duty vehicles, if battery charging was managed to avoid new peaks in electricity demand.

ZAP has entered into a non-exclusive license with Battelle, which operates PNNL for the DOE.

The company has also been granted the right to sublicense the technology to ZAP Hangzhou, a joint venture in China with the Holley Group. ZAP also plans to distribute the new technology through its investor and distribution partner Samyang Optics of Korea.