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The Business Model for Solar-Powered Electric Car Charging

Electric cars are often pictured in front of a solar array or wind turbine, when in reality most of our electricity comes non-renewable sources. Yet, there are three new projects that feature a close integration of solar power and electric car charging: the Tesla Supercharger network; the Fastned charging network in the Netherlands; and a collaboration between GM’s OnStar and TimberRock.

The Tesla Supercharger network is the innovative company’s proprietary fast charging technology, allowing a Model S to be completely recharged in less than an hour. The design combines high-voltage fast-charging, a solar-power carport, and a half-megawatt-hour stationary battery pack. Meanwhile, the Fastned network is planned for the Netherlands, and it will use a solar carport to generate some of the electricity required to charge cars. It will use charging stations manufactured by ABB that support both the CHADEMO and Combined Charging System standards for DC Fast Charging. There will be one fast charging station within 50 kilometers distance of nearly every Dutch citizen.
Clean Fuel for Clean Cars

Because most electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, it leaves electric car owners open to criticism that we’re simply outsourcing the pollution to the power plant. It doesn’t seem to matter how many studies show that the full emissions from the electric car is still cleaner than equivalent gasoline-powered cars, electric cars are tarnished with the “coal-fired” meme. But generating the electricity from solar panels erases that argument.

Elon Musk used that very argument as part of the rationale behind including solar power carports at Supercharger installations. They’re working with Solar City to ensure the solar carports are big enough to generate more electricity over the course of a year than is consumed in charging the cars.
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