Oftentimes when we cover Robert Llewellyn, it's his plug-in-centric show Fully Charged that's in the spotlight. However, this time 'round, it's Llewellyn and his Nissan Leaf that come into focus.
For first time-ever, electric vehicles will soon be able to travel the length of the UK using a network of free, solar-powered "top-up" charging stations located near motorways. According to Ecotricity, the company that installed the network, range anxiety has now been removed from the electric vehicle equation in the UK.
Mark Hildebrandt developed a fondness for solar energy back in the 1970s. Over the years, it became his vocation. So, it's fitting that he counts on the sun to charge his Chevrolet Volt, right? Hildebrandt, owner of Sunventrix Solar in Saline, MI, says that:
Beautiful Earth Group (BEG), a Brooklyn, NY-based renewable energy company, has installed a solar-powered plug-in vehicle charging station right in its own backyard. Well, sort of. You see, BEG's solar charging units sits in Brooklyn Bridge Park – an 85-acre sustainable waterfront piece of land with views of New York Harbor and the Manhattan skyline.
Hire Electric's solar charging station in Richland, WA
Charging an electric vehicle (EV) via solar power is not a novel idea, but the Car Arc concept from modular bike park system designer Bike Arc attacks the task of capturing the sun rays with some modern flair. The Car Arc's curvaceous structure is made from extruded metal tubes that are shaped to form a carport-like structure that can be installed just about anywhere.
2010 Nissan Leaf EV - Click above for high-res image gallery
A new solar carport has just been launched in the UK from a company called Romag Holdings, a firm that produces "specialist transparent composites" including laminated photovoltaic panels. Called PowerParks, these carports would act as a shelter and charging point for electric vehicles. Each unit has a peak output of 150 kilowatts. When there's nothing plugged in to the PowerPark, the solar power is fed back into the grid, so the energy collected is never wasted.
We'd imagine that the UK Petrol Retailers Association would have a vested interest in making the business model of the tried-and-true gas station survive. So, we aren't all that surprised to read about the group's suggestion that future gas stations should carry solar roofs that feed power into electricity dispensers, especially now that the Prime Minister has pledged large sums of money for EV development. The alternative, of course, would be to charge your electric car's battery right at home
We have brought up the idea of saving money on gas by riding a motorcycle or scooter a few times now, and invariably, we get comments which state that motorcycles are worse for the environment than cars. Is that true? Not necessarily. Exhaust emissions are calculated in parts per million, and more parts per million of harmful particles in the exhaust is bad. This is often cited in defense of cars, as motorcycles often have worse ratings in parts per million that autos. But, what about the differ
I have pondered (and posted) about a few ideas regarding charging the battery of your car with solar power rather than with the alternator, except when necessary. Here is a solar car-battery charger that you can get today. It's called the Sunsei SolarCharger, and you mount it on your windshield where it can get good access to the sun. I suppose that it would work on the dash or on an open sunroof as well. The charger features a trickle charger when the battery reaches its full charge, so there i