We've dug deep within the mind of Yves Béhar, and when that man designs something, we take notice. Particularly when the object of reference is an all-new electric vehicle charger that looks good enough for the sparkling streets of Minneapolis. Introduced today, the GE WattStation is a beautifully engineered EV charger designed to "accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles," and furthermore, allow "utility companies to manage the impact of electric vehicles on the local and regional grids." We're also told that it's capable of handling Level 2 (240V) charging, and if all goes to plan, it'll be available globally next year. Oh, and if you're considering a move to the inner city just to be near one, hold your horses -- a specialized home version will be available later in 2010. Hop on past the break for a little showboating from Yves himself.

Yves Behar-designed GE WattStation electric vehicle charger

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GE Introduces Smart Grid-Compatible Electric Vehicle Charger
GE WattStation(TM) is an easy-to-use electric vehicle charger designed by renowned industrial designer Yves Behar

SAN FRANCISCO, Jul 13, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- --Will help utility companies manage electricity demand, expanding consumer access to electric vehicle charging stations

--Significantly decreases time required for full car charging

GE today introduced the GE WattStation, an easy-to-use electric vehicle (EV) charger. Designed to help accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles, GE WattStation significantly decreases time needed for vehicle charging and, using smart grid technology, allows utility companies to manage the impact of electric vehicles on the local and regional grids.

Steve Fludder, vice president of GE ecomagination, said, "Widespread electric vehicle adoption depends on having charging stations that integrate the need for quick charging with the personal need for easy functionality. GE WattStation will meet this challenge."

Combining functionality with consumer friendly form from renowned industrial designer Yves Behar, the GE WattStation on average decreases electric vehicle charging time from 12-18 hours to as little as four to eight hours compared to standard charging "level 1", assuming a full-cycle charge for a 24 kWh battery.

"Good design is when a new technology enters our life and makes it simpler, beautiful and healthy" said Yves Behar, founder of fuseproject. "The GE WattStation achieves this with a welcoming design that is seamlessly integrated in the urban landscape and becomes a natural part of our daily driving routine"

Dan Heintzelman, president & CEO GE Energy Services, said, "For more than 100 years GE has worked to optimize energy use. Given our expertise in electrical distribution, WattStation is a natural progression in our commitment to creating cutting edge innovation for the next century."

GE WattStation will be commercially available globally in 2011. GE will unveil a specialized home version of the charger later this year.

In addition to the GE WattStation, GE recently announced two new partnerships to advance electric vehicle adoption. In April 2010, Project Get Ready, a non-profit initiative led by Rocky Mountain Institute to help communities prepare for electric vehicles, named GE a technical advisor focusing on design and planning of the local and regional electric grids for electric vehicles.

In May 2010, GE Global Research and Nissan signed a separate three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore new technologies that are needed to build a reliable, dynamic smart-charging infrastructure.

For more information on GE WattStation, including preorder details, please visit www.ecomagination.com/wattstation.

About GE's ecomagination

GE is driving a global energy transformation with a focus on innovation and R&D investment to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology. Since its inception in 2005, more than 90 ecomagination-approved products have been brought to market with revenues reaching $18 billion in 2009. With $5 billion invested in R&D its first five years, GE committed to doubling its ecomagination investment and collaborate with partners to accelerate a new era of energy innovation. The company will invest $10 billion in R&D over five years and double operational energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. As part of the initiative, GE launched "GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid", a $200 million financial commitment challenging innovators to join in building the next-generation power grid. For more information, visit the ecomagination website at http://www.ecomagination.com

About GE

GE /quotes/comstock/13*!ge/quotes/nls/ge (GE 15.31, +0.10, +0.66%) is a diversified infrastructure, finance and media company taking on the world's toughest challenges. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, health care solutions, and television programming, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com.

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Yves Behar-designed GE WattStation electric vehicle charger spruces streets, juices cars