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Published on February 25th, 2016 | by Tina Casey

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New Hawaii EV Fast Charger Has Energy Storage Power Boost


February 25th, 2016 by  


Way over in Hawaii, a modest little EV fast charging station with integrated energy storage could accelerate the growth of the EV charging network all across the US. That’s because the new charging station is a demonstration partnership between the company Greenlots and Hawaii’s electric utility HECO, designed to provide an economical way to install fast charging stations in areas that are not supported by the existing grid.

EV charging Hawaii

Energy Storage And EV Fast Charging: First Hawaii, Tomorrow The World

If the name Greenlots rings a bell, that could be because CleanTechnica has been following the global company’s activities in the EV charging field in Singapore as well as in the US, where it recently partnered with Kia Motors on an EV charging station promotion for Kia Soul EV buyers.

Another recent Greenlots endeavor in the US is a workplace EV charging partnership, launched last year in California, designed to study demand-response incentives for ensuring stable grid management as the number of EVs grows.

The problem-solving approach is also at work in the Hawaii EV fast charging demonstration project. As noted by our sister site Gas2.org, access to a fast charging station is an important consideration for most EV owners. However, installing a fast-charging station can be prohibitively expensive in locations that don’t already have the grid infrastructure to support the load.

The Greenlots/HECO partnership tackles the problem by integrating a fast-charging station with an energy storage component:

The fast charger’s integrated energy storage allows it to remain in full power using electricity stored at times when generation is abundant—such as mid-day when many rooftop solar panels are sending power to the grid. Stored energy is then available later in the day during peak use times when electricity is in high demand.

The fast charger allows electric vehicle owners to get up to an 80 percent charge in as little as 30 minutes.

Greenlots’s contribution to the effort is its open-source SKY vehicle-to-grid system, as described in a previous CleanTechnica article:

Greenlots’s secret sauce is an open-source charging station management platform it calls SKY. The system is designed to be a turnkey, “future-proof” solution for sites that host EV charging stations, and it also enables utilities and host sites to collaborate on demand-response programs.

The demonstration is designed specifically to see how the new EV fast charging station performs in real world conditions using a combination of grid-supplied electricity and stored electricity, and to that end it was installed near a Ruby Tuesday restaurant, located at a busy mall in West Oahu called Kapolei Commons.

The grid at the mall clocks in at the 23 kilowatt mark, and with the help of the battery the new EV station reaches the 50 kilowatt level needed for fast-charging. The estimated 30 minutes for an 80 percent fast charge means that the car will be recharged in time for the driver to grab a quick meal or run a couple of errands.

As a grid-connected installation, the new fast-charging station does not run on 100 percent renewable energy — yet. Hawaii is on track to meet its goal of achieving 100 percent renewables statewide by 2045. In the meantime, as noted by Greenlots’ press materials, the state’s growing solar sector indirectly supports the new fast-charging station by providing ample electricity to the grid during peak use periods.

If the project proves successful, you could soon see similar setups popping up around the US and elsewhere.

Koch Brothers Can’t Kill The EV

The Greenlots/HECO project was officially announced earlier today, coincidentally on the heels of a rumor that the notoriously fossil-friendly Koch brothers are planning to launch a new campaign against EVs.

CleanTechnica spoke with Greenlots CEO Brett Hauser before the Koch news broke, and some of his comments indicate that the new effort is bound to fail.

Here’s what he had to say about the future:

Hawaii, with California and New York, are setting the pace in terms of the integration of renewables and electric transportation, and the evolving role of utilities as it relates to generation.

…The business models of the past are in the past, everyone has to [adapt]…we see that energy storage is in its infancy, and it will play a big role…

As for the EV market specifically, Hauser mentioned that EVs have an efficiency advantage over gasmobiles even when charging from a grid source that includes fossil fuels, so there’s that.

Our friends over at Idaho National Laboratory also note EVs have a superior potential for a low-maintenance lifespan compared to gasmobiles. Here’s the rundown from INL:

Another significant difference between electric vehicles and gasoline-powered vehicles is the number of moving parts. The electric vehicle has one moving part, the motor, whereas the gasoline-powered vehicle has hundreds of moving parts. Fewer moving parts in the electric vehicle leads to another important difference. The electric vehicle requires less periodic maintenance and is more reliable. The gasoline-powered vehicle requires a wide range of maintenance, from frequent oil changes, filter replacements, periodic tune ups, and exhaust system repairs, to the less frequent component replacement, such as the water pump, fuel pump, alternator, etc.

Go for it, Koch brothers.

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Photo: via Greenlots (emailed to CleanTechnica via importantmedia.org). 
 

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About the Author

specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



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