Electric vehicle drivers in sunny California can now look forward to getting some solar-powered juice for their rides. SolarCity and Rabobank are partnering up to install a series of EV quick-charging locations along Highway 101 between San Francisco and Los Angeles, one of which is already solar-powered. Four chargers have been installed – and are in operation – in Salinas, Atascadero, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo. A fifth charger will be up and running in Goleta by the middle of October. The Santa Maria station is powered by a 30kW solar array. The units are all High-Power Connector fast chargers that provide 240V, 70 amps and can fully recharge a Tesla Roadster in about three-and-a-half hours. Currently, the charging stations will only connect to a Roadster, but SolarCity plans to retrofit these chargers to fit all EVs in the near future.
This is just the beginning of a solar EV charging network that SolarCity and Rabobank want to install in the area. SolarCity owns and operates four of the charging stations in the current network (all installed at Rabobank locations); the San Luis Obispo location is owned by the city and is located at a parking garage.

There's a reason SolarCity is so interested in making it easier for Roadsters to get from SF to LA. SolarCity is Tesla Motor's preferred solar partner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk provided the principal financing for SolarCity.

[Source: SolarCity]


SolarCity and Rabobank Announce Corridor of Solar-Powered Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

SolarCity and Rabobank will enable electric vehicles to travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles

SANTA MARIA, Calif., Sept. 22, 2009–SolarCity® and Rabobank, N.A. today announced a partnership to create the world's first solar-power enhanced, fast-charge electric car charging corridor. When complete, the corridor will include four locations between San Francisco and Los Angeles (Salinas, Atascadero, Santa Maria and Goleta), allowing all-electric cars to make the trip using solar energy and provide for the fastest charge time available for public EV charges. The SolarCity-owned and operated corridor, built in cooperation with electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors, will provide a full charge in one third the amount of time of other charging stations.

San Francisco and Los Angeles each support local infrastructure for electric vehicles (EV), and many enterprising EV owners have successfully completed ambitious road trips throughout California and cross-country. Allowing drivers to plug in and charge up at multiple locations along well traveled corridors will dramatically increase the convenience and practicality of the growing number of EVs on American roads. Rabobank branches are positioned all along the high-traffic Highway 101 corridor, close to shops, restaurants and other commercial centers in Northern and Southern California, making them ideal locations for charging stations.

"This charging station corridor demonstrates an important component of SolarCity's vision for a carbon-free lifestyle. We're combining clean, renewable solar power with all-electric transportation, allowing drivers to travel through California with zero emissions," said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive. SolarCity has installed more than 100 solar home charging stations for Tesla owners. The company has also assumed responsibility for a distribution contract for electric vehicle chargers for Toyota Tsusho as part its acquisition of SolSource Energy, announced last week.

Rabobank, N.A. is a California community bank that provides personalized service and a full array of quality products to individuals, businesses, and agricultural clients. The bank has completed a 30 kilowatt solar installation at its South Broadway branch in Santa Maria and is evaluating installing solar at additional locations. In addition to providing renewable energy to charge electric cars, the systems will offset electricity used by the locations. As part of the Rabobank Group, a global leader in sustainability-oriented banking, Rabobank, N.A. will offer local California customers and local shoppers convenient charging stations with clean, renewable energy.

"We hope that this corridor of charging stations provides new travel opportunities for electric vehicle owners and gives further momentum to the renewable energy movement," said Marco Krapels, co-chair of the bank's Corporate Social Responsibility committee.

The corridor would be the first interregional effort of its kind and would be the first to include solar power at a charging station. California is the first state in the United States to be aggressive about EV transportation. The Bay Area is home of Tesla Motors, makers of electric sports cars, among other EV manufacturers. State and local governments, electric utilities, the federal government and other entities are working together to support this infrastructure. Rabobank and SolarCity are taking the EV movement one step further, by charging electric vehicles with power from the sun.

Tom Dowling, electric vehicle charging infrastructure manager for the Electric Auto Association, is experienced with installing, tracking and maintaining EV charging stations. "These bank branches are what I call enabler locations because they allow EV drivers to take longer trips and thereby use the EV as their primary car," says Dowling. "Solar-powered charging stations mean true zero-emission driving, from well to wheels."

For more information about charging stations and electric cars:

About SolarCity
SolarCity-a national leader in solar power system design, financing, installation, monitoring and related services-was founded with the mission to help millions of homeowners and businesses adopt solar power, protect themselves from rising electricity costs, and protect their environment from polluting power sources. The company's SolarLease and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) options can make it possible for homeowners and businesses to switch to clean, solar power for less money than they currently pay for electricity. SolarCity currently serves 500 communities in California, Arizona and Oregon. Additional information about the company is available on the Web at www.solarcity.com.

About Rabobank, N.A.
Rabobank, N.A. is a California community bank that provides personalized service and a full array of quality products to individuals, businesses, and agricultural clients. With 91 retail branches and 15 financial service centers, we serve the needs of communities from Sacramento to the Imperial Valley through local decision making and active community involvement by our employees. Rabobank, N.A. is part of the Rabobank Group, one of the world's largest and safest banks. www.rabobankamerica.com

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