Watt Does It use

The go-to blog to save energy, save money, help the earth.

Month: October 2015

New Technology Allows You to Charge Electric Vehicle From Solar-Powered Home

We just added a new feature to your dream home. Pretty soon you’ll be able to charge your electric car directly from your solar-powered home. Princeton Power Systems and NRG eVgo, two major electric charging companies are partnering to create the technology for the Orange County Team’s entrance into the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Both companies are donating their time and products to the team which displayed its project at the Great Park in Irvine, CA from Oct 8 – 18.

CertainTeed Apollo II

The technology is brand new, and allows electric vehicles to charge from a home’s solar output. The conversion process reduces power losses by 50% while maximizing efficiency. Plus, the system allows unused power to flow back into the home or into the grid when not needed. Have you added this to your future home’s checklist yet?

Princeton Power Systems has partnered with US Armed Forces to create electric charging systems for the Los Angeles Air Force Base. The systems allow bidirectional charging of vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, meaning that power can flow from the charging system into the vehicle and vice versa. The Leaf’s battery can then be used as an energy backup for the base as needed. With the rapid development speed for electric charging technology, pretty soon this might be a feature for every home, not just your dream one.

What other energy-saving technologies would you like to see in your home? Let us know in the comments below.


Wireless Charging for Your Electric Vehicle

I recently discovered the company, Evatran, which makes Plugless, a wireless charging system for electric vehicles.  I got a chance to chat with Steve Cummings, a spokesperson at Evatran, and he gave me some great background on the company and the technology, which you can read below.

How long has this technology been around?

Technically speaking, Nikola Tesla invented the basis for all inductive EV charging when he demonstrated inductive power transfer, wait for it, back in 1894. (As I understand it, he illuminated NYC street lights wirelessly for the demo).  Fast forward to the founding of our company, Evatran, the maker of Plugless. In 2009, we were essentially a spin off from the industrial

electrical transformer company of founder co-founder Tom Hough, the other co-founder is our CEO (and Tom’s daughter)

Rebecca Hough. Our patented technology was tested, refined, and released for a large-scale trial program (we called it our Apollo Program) in 2011. Our trial partners include: Google, Hertz, Bosch, Argonne National Labs, Idaho National Labs, UC Davis, Clemson,

SAP…among others. During the trial, from 2011 to 2013, we tested more than 15,000 charge hours on LEAF and Volt installations across the country. Using that data, we made a few product refinements and began selling Plugless to Volt and LEAF owners in the U.S. and Canada in March of 2014 and later in the year to Cadillac ELR owners.

Has this been deployed in any commercial buildings, or is it more targeted towards consumers?

It has been deployed in a variety of commercial installations – L.A. Department of Public Works, Duke Energy, Clemson University and the City of Raleigh to cite a few. However, we are largely marketing toward and selling to consumers at this point.

What are the barriers to integrating this tech with more EVs?

I can tackle that (great) question in two ways. The first, in terms of EV model to EV model and in terms of Plugless (as opposed to generally speaking, which I tackle below).  Plugless is integrated into the EV to be safe, to maintain all functionality of the EV, to be installed in a way that doesn’t damage the EV (no drilling, cutting or breaking the EV in anyway), and in a way that places the vehicle adapter (receiving coil) where it can be easily and consistently aligned with the power pad (the coil that transmits the energy) all for optimum efficiency. In addition, all of this must be accomplished in a way that keeps the systems affordable and relatively easy to install. Like all technologies that make life simple, “under the hood” there is huge amount of complexity to get it right. Given that each new EV we support represents a tremendous amount of engineering, design, testing, and manufacturing work to bring a safe, easy-to-use, and well priced product to market.

With that being written, we very much look forward to any competition to see how they solve for these things.  That leads to the second way to answer your question – in the sense of for ANY company or OEM, what are the barriers to integrating this tech? We are the only company in this space that has moved from being a technology company into being a product company, and so we have a unique perspective. All Wireless EV Charging (WEVC) companies, when they move from bench models in the lab to production models out in the world, as Evatran has with Plugless, will have to balance safety, vehicle integration, ease of use, power level (read: speed of charging – I.e. 3.3kW, 6.6kW, 10kW etc.), logistics of shipping the units (where weight and size matter), installation of the systems, and efficiency – all against the cost to the consumer. Our sense is that the majority of the market is waiting on a WEVC standard, which will push some of the costs onto the EV manufacturers and, by extension, their customers as optional equipment. We are involved in those discussions, and they are moving along.

Do you intend to integrate with cars like Tesla?

We are months away from selling Plugless for Tesla S models and the BMW i3. Those systems will be 6.6kW systems.

Does weather affect charging time?

Not for the vast majority of conditions. The operating temperatures we list on our tech specs are 0° to 122° F. We know that above or below that range charging might slow down a bit, and as the temperatures get more extreme, stop charging altogether (or not initiate charging). On the cold end of the spectrum, if it begins charging, the warmth of the charging would bring the speed of charging back to normal quickly.

Where can I buy Plugless?

You can go to https://www.pluglesspower.com/shop/ and buy a wireless electric vehical charger for your electric vehicle. If you don’t see your vehicle, you can sign up to be notified when it is available.

WattDoesItUse.com Partners with EPEAT to Reduce Energy Consumption and Carbon Output

WattDoesItUse.com has joined the EPEAT Champions program to increase awareness of green electronics. WattDoesItUse.com allows you to find the power consumption and carbon output of your electronic devices and appliances. EPEAT complements this by highlighting electronics that also meet strict environmental criteria, which factor in design, product longevity, packaging, and manufacturing materials, along with energy efficiency.

“We are thrilled to become an EPEAT Champion,” said Corey Ganser, Founder of WattDoesItUse.com. “EPEAT has a significant impact on the environment by qualifying products that meet strict environmental requirements. This partnership will make it easier for consumers and institutions to make the right decision when purchasing electronics.”

WattDoesItUse will include EPEAT electronics alongside over 50,000 other electronics and appliances.

About WattDoesItUse.com

WattDoesItUse.com was created to make it easier to find and compare the power consumption of electronic devices that someone already owns or is interested in buying. On WattDoesItUse.com, you can find numerous categories with over 50,000 electronics and appliances, along with their power consumption and carbon output.


EPEAT is the definitive global environmental rating system for electronics. The EPEAT Registry includes the most products from the broadest range of manufacturers and spans the widest array of countries.  EPEAT combines strict, comprehensive criteria for design, production, energy use and recycling with ongoing independent verification of manufacturer claims. More than 757 million EPEAT-registered products have been sold worldwide since 2006, resulting in significant environmental benefits. EPEAT was developed through a stakeholder consensus process and is managed by the Green Electronics Council, a non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon. Learn more at epeat.net.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén