GE, Nissan partner to develop 'smart charging' for electric vehicles

General Electric and Nissan have teamed up to build the smart infrastructure needed to power plug-in electric vehicles.

Plug-in electric cars are wonderful, but someone needs to build the smart infrastructure needed to power them.

Consumer energy giant General Electric and automaker Nissan have partnered to research and develop the technology required to build a "smart charging" grid.

The two companies signed a three-year "memorandum of understanding" for the project, which neatly dovetails on Nissan's recent announcement of its all-electric, zero-emission Leaf hatchback, which is scheduled to launch later this year in the United States, Europe and Japan.

"Together with Nissan, we will take a comprehensive look at what technologies will be needed in the car, on the grid and at home or work to make smart charging a reality," said GE Global Research senior VP and director Mark Little in a statement.

There are two areas of interest for the companies: First, the technologies needed to intelligently link electric vehicles with homes and buildings; second, integrating that system with the larger smart grid.

For now, the companies are simply figuring out the specific areas where they can truly collaborate. GE's research will be conducted at its global research operations in Niskayuna, New York; Nissan will get to work primarily at its North American Technical Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

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