Electrify America is in the middle of a massive roll-out of electric vehicle infrastructure. It has to, since the company was created as part of Volkswagen’s settlement over its dieselgate emissions scandal. Electrify America is required to spend $2 billion on promoting EVs, with $800 million of the money being invested in California. According to Electric, 35 percent of those funds are to be spent on low-income and disadvantaged communities, but that commitment has been a bit lacking so far.
Which brings us to EA’s announcement this week. EA said it will spend $2 million in order to install 30 self-standing, solar-powered EV chargers in rural California. Called the EV ARC (for Electric Vehicle Autonomous Renewable Charge), these truly interesting towers are totally disconnected from the grid and can store sunlight in a 32-kWh battery when the sun is shining and there’s no car around asking for a charge. Of course, without a grid connection, there is a chance you’ll pull up to one of these at night and there won’t be any juice in the pack, but at least installation is quick and easy.
As you can see in the video below, an EV Arc can be up and running within minutes of being delivered on the back of a bespoke Arc Mobility Trailer. Envision Solar says you don’t need to deal with permits, utility companies, construction workers, re-pouring foundations, contractors or engineers to get an EV ARC “installed.” Really, what that means (based on the video, anyway) is that the EV ARC gets dropped off in a standard-size parking lot space and is pretty much instantly ready to go.
Each EV ARC that Electrify America is installing comes with two Level 2 charging cables that can change at 6 kW (the EV ARCs themselves can be equipped with up to six such cables). The roof is made from a 4.28-kW sun-tracking solar array and the whole system can be connected to the cloud and accessed through the Envision Solar app. By making the 20.5 x 10.5-foot solar roof moveable, Envision Solar says an EV ARC collects up to 25 percent more electricity than it would if the roof could not move.
The San Diego-based Envision Solar says it has deployed EV ARCs in 16 states, 17 municipalities and 4 countries. Envision Solar says the ARCs are secure in winds up to 120 miles per hour and in floods up to 9.5 feet. Envision Solar even says that it had ARCs in the Caribbean that kept working during category five, 185-mph winds in 2018. Impressive. Most Impressive.