Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

New smart system charges electric vehicles from any power outlet

Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

For the many benefits that come with electric vehicles, a basic drawback is still the relative lack of EV charging stations around town. As of February of this year, there are a scant 5,507 EV charging stations in all of America, according to U.S. Dept. of Energy numbers compiled by EVs Roll. Although here in California, we boast a large chunk of that number, topping out at 1,458 outlets (Texas is a distant second at 462, followed closely by Washington state at 459).

A new smart system being developed by automaker Volvo and telecommunications firm Ericsson aims to make the hunt for charging stations obsolete by giving any power outlet the ability to charge an EV.

As reported by Gizmag, the Electric Vehicle Intelligent Infra Structure (AKA “ELVIIS”) has been installed in a Volvo C30 Electric car for testing. Using a touchscreen, the user can select from various energy sources. Once the charge point is identified via GPS, the system communicates with the electricity grid to not only establish the best price for the juice, but also charge the amount to your home utility bill. No shady charging! 

“Our basic view is that the owner of an electric vehicle shouldn't have to sacrifice any of the properties he or she expects from a luxury car,” explains Lennart Stegland, Volvo’s Vice President of Electric Propulsion Systems in a company press release. "This smart technology for charging in any outlet, and paying automatically via your own electricity bill, is an excellent example of how we do everything to make the daily use easier for the customer.”

While five additional Volvo C30 Electrics will be outfitted with the technology and tested over a year's time, the original test car is on display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona through the end of this month.