April 10, 2009 weblog
Chicago Installs Solar Powered Charging Station for Electric Vehicles
(PhysOrg.com) -- One of the biggest arguments that some have made against plug-in electric vehicles is that they still promote the use of fossil fuels. When you have to plug in a car for a charge, the electricity used to charge the battery often comes from a power plant that gets its energy from oil. Chicago is hoping to change that as it becomes the first city to install an electric vehicle (EV) charging station powered with solar energy.
When you think of advances in making electric vehicles easier to use, you do not normally think of Chicago. San Francisco or Portland often come to mine. Both cities are working to install EV charging stations throughout the city in order to make "filling up" with electricity almost as convenient as filling up with gasoline. But Chicago has gone one better. Not only will Chicago provide EV charging stations, but the city will do so using renewable energy. Solar power will be used to provide electricity, negating the need for fossil fuels altogether if you drive an electric vehicle in the Windy City.
There is a tree-like canopy that holds the solar panels. These panels collect the sun's light and facilitates the transformation into electric energy. Storage of the electricity is underground. The station was built by Carbon Day Automotive. The company hopes that other cities will follow suit, allowing them to build solar-powered EV charging stations for other American cities.
For now, the City of Chicago is likely to be the biggest user of the EV station. The city has a fleet of electric cars, and the charging station will be used daily to make sure that the cars have the electricity that they need. It's a great idea, and proof that innovation and technology can move us into a more sustainable future -- one that doesn't require fossil fuels to keep us going.
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