GE has unveiled a new residential electric vehicle (EV) charger, GE WattStation, designed by industrial designer Yves Behar to help accelerate the adoption of plug-in EVs by decreasing time needed for vehicle charging by using smart grid technology.

GE WattStation is claimed to provide a ‘level 1’ full-cycle charge to an EV powered by a 24kWh battery in four to eight hours, bringing it down from 12-18 hours, allowing utility companies to manage the impact of EVs on the local and regional grids.

GE, which plans to make the global commercial launch of GE WattStation in 2011, has partnered with ServiceMagic, a website connecting consumers with service professionals, to provide a network of certified electricians for the installation of the residential WattStation in the consumers’ home.

Additionally, GE Capital will work in collaboration with ServiceMagic, to provide financing options to help consumers pay for the charger and installation costs over time.

GE is also working on Project Get Ready, a non-profit initiative led by Rocky Mountain Institute to help communities prepare for EV, as a technical advisor, focusing on design and planning of the local and regional electric grids for EVs.

In addition, GE Global Research has signed a separate three-year Memorandum of Understanding with Nissan to explore new technologies for building smart-charging infrastructure.

GE WattStation global product manager Michael Mahan said that the residential WattStation’s easy functionality and design allows for uncomplicated integration of quick EV charging into everyday activities.