One of the biggest reasons people don’t buy electric cars is because they’re worried about where they’ll charge them. One company has a unique answer with a solar charger that fits into a standard parking spot.
“Electric vehicle autonomous renewable charger. So, underline that word autonomous. This thing’s not connected to anything at all. No grid connection, no power coming from the utility,” said Beam Global CEO Desmond Wheatley.
The self-contained, sustainable device looks like a giant patio umbrella. It has a solar panel on top of a battery bank, and it all moves to track the sun. That way the device can capture 25 percent more electricity than if it was a fixed array.
Sunlight is converted into energy that can charge multiple cars at once. Not only can it charge your car, but there’s also an AC outlet and USB outlets to plug in your electronics, too. (If you’re wondering, the unit I demoed had full size USB plug-ins, I’d prefer to see USB-C added as well)
The City of Los Angeles has been testing the units with their fleet vehicles for a few years. Now, they’re ready to install several more for residents.
“The best aspect I like about them is that they’re portable,” said Jimmy Kim, General Manager for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.
Since the unit requires no wiring and fits into a standard parking spot, they’re easy to install with no permitting process.
“As soon as it’s manufactured, we can bring them into our sites and deploy them and use them,” said Kim.
Plus, they can be moved to provide power in an emergency. They’re built to withstand high winds, earthquakes and flooding.
“So you’re driving with essentially free electricity, completely clean of course, driving on sunshine we call it, and you haven’t had to do any construction work or anything else. And in the event you want to move it, it’s transportable,” concluded Wheatley.
Each EV ARC costs about $70,000, which the company tells me is less than wiring and construction in many cases.