Solar-Powered Fast Charger Installed for True Zero Emission Driving
The vision of true zero emission transportation sounds simple. Produce your electricity from solar or wind sources and use it to power a fully electric car. Getting to that to happen in the real world is more difficult, but a main highway in California is leading the way.
The San Luis Obispo Air Pollution Control District and Caltrans partnered with Envision Solar to set up a solar-powered DC fast-charging system at a rest area on California Highway 46, a main east-west highway connected the Central Coast with the San Joaquin Valley. Envision Solar’s EV ARC system was installed at the Shandon rest area, near the junction of Highways 41 and 46, famous as the area where James Dean met his end in a fatal car crash.
Because the Envision Solar system doesn’t require any grid upgrade, it’s ideal for remote locations like this rest stop, where it can offer EV drivers the opportunity for a quick recharge. The system draws the majority of its power from the sun and was deployed with minimal construction costs since it’s a self-contained unit. The EV ARC can be deployed without trenching, foundations or any kind of installation.
Each individual unit in the Shandon deployment (which includes four units) has a six-kilowatt panel fed by the sun from a tracking array on top of the unit. Electricity is stored for use when needed. The tracking solar panel can generate 25 percent more electricity than a fixed array.
A similar deployment can be found on the side of U.S. Highway 101 north of San Luis Obispo at another rural rest stop. Envision Solar now has more than 100 customers for its products. The company has found a home with public and private electric fleets around the country and is expected to continue to grow, according to CEO Desmond Wheatley.
Game Changer Product Next
Wheatley added that the company’s game changer product just received a patent this year. Called the EV Standard, the product could be seen as a replacement streetlamp—or a new way to provide light and electric power.
Envision Solar EV Standard
Wheatley sees the EV Standard as the “transformational” tool that can provide ubiquitous charging for those who don’t have access home or work charging—or just need a boost while out and about. It combines solar, wind and utility-generated electricity in a bank of integrated batteries. Wheatley said most existing streetlamps don’t carry the capacity to provide a real charge for an EV without a substantial upgrade, but the EV Standard with its additional power sources and storage will be able to do the job.
The EV Standard comes with a state-of-the-art high-lumens, low-consumption LED light and will provide Level 2 charging. Most of the juice for charging will come from the wind and solar part of the system. In the same way the EV ARC found a home in emergency services, the EV Standard also will be capable of providing lighting and power to IoT-connected devices, even if the grid is down.
The EV Standard product promises to supply the volume that’s so important to the growth of a small public company like Envision Solar. Wheatley hinted that more is coming soon from the company as part of a rebranding move, so stay tune for the next chapter that may be bringing solar power and EV charging to a streetlamp near you.
Story by Michael Coates
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