According to Envision Solar president Desmond Wheatley, "every electric vehicle is the equivalent of one or two single-family residences in terms of impact on the electric grid." Looking to reduce that impact, General Motors has partnered with Envision Solar to provide solar charging stations for the Chevrolet Volt at GM dealers. The stations serve a dual purpose: to provide shade and a charge. The shade it provides actually assists the charging function. Wheatley says that electric vehicles, when first plugged in, use 80 percent of the electricity to cool the battery enough to accept a charge.
The sun-tracking "trees" are each able to charge one Volt a day for about a third of the cost of refueling a gas vehicle. Harvesting energy from a renewable resource such as the sun in order to charge an electric vehicle is definitely a big step in the reducing oil dependence direction. At the end of the year, installations will begin at the GM headquarters in Detroit as well as their key launch markets in California, Texas, Michigan, New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

[Source: LA Times]

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