It turns out consumers don’t just want electric vehicles – they want electric vehicles that draw from clean energy sources, to make their investment as clean and sustainable as possible. According to the Environmental Research Letters, sales of electric vehicles soared 23% higher in regions that had clean energy options offered by electricity providers available to customers. In truth, a green car can only be as clean as the grid it plugs into, and a clean grid is the most desirable.
Another facet of this relation of clean energy to electric vehicles is the burgeoning advances in solar-powered charging stations. Tesla’s Supercharger Network will be solar-powered, and BMW will offer its customers discounted rates on solar panels to cleanly charge up their new electric vehicles. Perhaps most notable of the industry advances in this field is General Motors Onstar division’s partnership with TimberRock to create a network of solar charging stations at GM dealerships and elsewhere, that would not only charge the vehicles when plugged in, but also feed the excess energy back into the grid, and would operate on a Smart Grid, monitoring usage and fluctuating its supply to help meet peak demand.
Solar powered charging stations make sense on a basic level. Drivers park near trees to avoid the harsh sun that roasts our interiors, creating the muggy-hell experience of entering into an accidental sauna, only to touch the ember-hot steering wheel every time you start to drive. The awning of the panels creates shade, while collecting energy, solving two problems with one simple solution. It begs the question- why don’t all garages and lots have a ventilated awning of solar panels that could not only power a few charging stations, but also provide shade to the drivers parked there, and feed energy into whatever buildings are nearby, or back into the grid? A simple solution to a hot sticky problem, and it creates green energy to boot.