EV chargers that can talk to the grid being tested in California

The University of California, San Diego already has a healthy number of EV charging stations, but dozens more have been installed recently as part of a three-year pilot project. These new ones are not like the others on campus, see: they're next-gen chargers supplied by German utility company RWE. They're the only model in the world right now certified for the 2017 global charger standard, which means they can communicate with the grid in real time to determine supply and demand. Thanks to this "smart charging" capability, stations can recognize if electricity's needed more elsewhere -- the charging process will then be interrupted whenever that's the case.

This project, which was funded by the California Energy Commission, also entails bringing in Daimler's smart electric drive coupes and offering affordable leases to students. The cars were designed to be 100 percent compatible with the new standard and hence can take full advantage of what RWE's chargers can do. UCSD's campus, by the way, is already pretty eco-friendly: in addition to its existing EV chargers, most of its power comes from wind and solar installations.

[Image credit: Getty Images]