If you haven’t noticed, I fancy solar power and electric cars quite a bit. (For some history, I founded SolarLove.org and ElectricLove.org… but then changed ElectricLove.org to EVObsession.com when the owner of another “Electric Love” wasn’t too fond of my entrance into the EV blog space.) So, what do I really fancy? Solar-powered electric cars, of course. Stimulated by some external requests, I’ve decided to run down a list of 7 solar-powered EV charging solutions that I love. Have a gander and let me know if you think I missed any other great ones. (By the way, the list is somewhat randomly ordered, as I can’t really prioritize my favorites here.)
1. Solar-Powered Tesla Superchargers
Come on — how could they not make the list. Note that not all Tesla Superchargers are solar powered (some people assume they are), but several are, and Tesla is continuously looking to add more. Another key note: you need a Tesla in order to use them… for the time being, at least. Best car on the planet, fueled by gallons of light, what’s not to love?
2. BMW & EIGHT’s Beauties
Tesla may have BMW beat in just about every other category, but the German giant has prettier solar-powered EV chargers. The Point One S chargers are a work of art, literally, and they also charge up award-winning electric BMWs such as the BMW i8 and BMW i3 (well, those are the only two for now) using precious but abundant rays of light from an explosive ball of fire in our broader neighborhood.
3. SolarCity Carports
Hey, things don’t have to be masterpieces for me to love them. Straightforward and functional solar carports from SolarCity rock it like it’s 1999. Sitting next to a soccer field at a school, the ones below actually look plenty snazzy for me. And imagine how many electric cars those could charge up!
4. Advansolar Carports… & Bikeports
Incidentally, just before getting down to work on this article, Josh sent me word that Advansolar just won the 2014 French Frost & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation Leadership. I had never heard of Advansolar before, but I love what I’m seeing on its website! Hot little solar carports with electric car charging outlets incorporated as well as solar bikeports with charging outlets for electric bikes. Totally hot, imho.
It also offers solar charging booths for consumer electronics with wifi access included. Cool company.
5. Stick it on yo’ truck
Going a very different route, Via Motors offers a portable solar tonneau for its extended-range electric VTRUX. If you get stuck in the Wild Wild West without a place to charge or fill up on gasoline, Bob Lutz has you covered. Who said conservatives had to hate solar? (Well, actually, I don’t care who told you that — they don’t have to!)
6. Solar Trees!
I love these things and I love their name. Envision Solar’s solar trees are pretty, useful, and great advertising for solar power and electric vehicles. GM (as in, General Motors) is a customer, which it uses to provide its employees with a good place to shade and charge up their Chevy Volts, Chevy Spark EVs, and Cadillac ELRs.
7. The Humble Home
You didn’t think I’d forget the best solar-powered EV charging solution of all, did you? Stick some solar panels on your roof and charge your electric car with those. Nuff said.
Playing and such aside, as much as I love the ideas of several of the solutions above, if you’re looking for a solar-powered EV charging solution that goes beyond point #7, the charging options for Tesla & BMW customers, and the off-grid solar solution Via Motors offers, you may want to consult with an unbiased professional before dumping tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a solar carport, solar tree, or similar product.
I was recently surprised and happy to find out about a parking services company that offers “advice and implementation” on solar trees and EV charging, among other green solutions. The founder of Ace Parking, Scott Jones, must must either have a green gene, a love for tech, or business savvy. Solar-powered electric cars are the future, and those that lead the way into the future via the present are the ones most likely to succeed.
If you have control over a parking facility of any notable size, you should definitely look into EV charging and solar power, and it might be a good idea to drop Ace Parking a note and see how it can help you.
*This article was generously supported by Ace Parking.