A New Advancement for Electric Cars that Will Save Energy and Money
Imagine a world where fossil fuels cease to exist and instead of gas stations we all took our cars to charging stations for batteries. Every car in America would just “plug and charge” with the press of a button, making the environment cleaner, safer, and saving us money in the process.
Well, open your eyes because we are now our way. Although every car in America is not running on batteries, huge technological advancements are taking place right now in the field of battery-operated vehicles – specifically noting BMW, Tesla, and Ford.
With electric cars flooding the roads of America, one of the biggest downfalls in past years has been the infrastructure to support the expanding trend. People want electric cars, but fear the ability to charge up as a major downfall in the investment. Therefore, industry moguls have begun building large networks of what we call “EV stations” throughout the country, spacing them out to accommodate all types of travel.
What is an EV Station?
EV stations are short for electric vehicle charging stations, which are recharging points of entry for full or hybrid electric vehicles. Some of these stations support faster charging at higher voltages and currents than domestically supplied charges upon customer purchase, but all of them get the job done for up to a 2 day charge.
In late 2012, over 50,000 non-residential slow charging points were constructed in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and China. In 2013, approximately 3,000 quick chargers were implemented throughout the world.
But there is still a disadvantage for regular (slow or quick) EV stations – someone still has to fork out the bill for usage. Although a person is saving money on gas fill ups each week, electricity to power cars is not free. Instead of paying for gas, a person or company is paying for KWh and the time to implement each system.
These EV stations are linked to the same grid that powers our homes and businesses and costs money to operate. Most electric cars, like the Nissan’s and Ford’s of the world, fully charge at around 20KWh and the average American commercial cost per KWh is 10 cents. Therefore, every car that charges fully costs around $2.00 at capacity. This is minor, but imagine every car in America needing a charge every 2 days – that $2.00 charge will add up quickly.
Solar EV Stations to Save the Day
For every problem, there is a solution. In this case, Envision Solar has implemented a new system called “The Arc” which is one of the first solar powered stand-alone charging stations. These bad boys are portable because they do not plug into a grid or traditional power source, but rather use the sun to harness all electricity needed to charge a vehicle.
The full system does have a hefty price tag at around $40,000 but does seem to create a positive ROI for commercial customers looking for self-sustaining charging stations. The only disadvantage to the system is the capable volume allowed for each day. The solar panels can only store 16 KWh per day, but has a 22 KWh battery back-up. Therefore, the system can only fully charge one electrical vehicle per day, or approximately four quarter charges on four vehicles.
As solar technology increases, this efficiency will continue to increase as well and people will see the economic benefits involved with solar powered EV stations. But even as they stand today there is a payback period. At $2.00 for a full charge, it may seem like a lifetime for the system to make its money back, but people underestimate transformers, face demand charges, and utility bills – all of which the solar EV station does not have. Those savings paralleled with government tax incentives makes this system economically viable in the long run.
That margin will only increase as technology continues to drive the economy.
- License: Creative Commons image source
This article was written by Matthew Hall, a proud owner of a fully electric car. Matthew understands the struggles associated with recharging and has been following the great strides in technological advancements of new charging technologies. He writes professionally for BobHeinmillerSolar.com. You can learn more about Matthew by visiting his Google+.