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If you live in Zurich you can now use a mobile phone to charge your electric car, check the battery levels and keep track of electricity costs.

IBM Research is teaming with the local electric utility, EKZ, in the pilot project. It involves an IBM-designed web app that works on most mobile phones, as well as a data recording device that has to be installed in the car, which then sends charging data to both the user and the utility.

The whole point is to give the utility real-time data on electricity usage, as well as allow for starting a charge at a future time to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates. If this catches on in the U.S., it could also make electric cars that much more attractive to buyers.

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