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Solar Filling Stations: Today’s Fill-Up is Tomorrow’s Charge-Up

During these early years of electric vehicle (EV) development, eco-conscious drivers will have to deal with high prices and short battery ranges. And even if you get past the high cost of prototypical EVs, you’ll still be fairly limited in how far from home you roam. Unless, of course, a network of solar-powered “filling” stations crop up to accommodate a burgeoning electric car market.

That is where concepts like the E-Move Charging Station come in, slowly becoming reality in Bozen, Denmark. There, you’ll find a prototype of what looks like an ultramodern lean-to. It’s really a charging station serviced by eight mono-crystalline PV panels that can charge eight EVs at one time.

Designed by Valentin Runggaldier, the E-Move can generate up to 2,000 kWh per year. According to Inhabitat, however, there is no telling exactly how long it would take E-Move to fully charge an electric car, a process likely to take all day. So this prototype may not become the solar filling station of the future, but it’s a good and demonstrative start.

The filling stations may be better suited for sale to private businesses (i.e. car rental agencies) or government offices for employee or customer use. Plus, the filling station would become impractical as soon as more than eight EVs showed up at one time. Drivers would have to pay station owners for the charge using a credit card or cell phone before tapping into E-Move’s sunny electricity. Denmark’s E-Move is running through its test phase at present, after which it will be marketed throughout Europe.

In the United States, EV or plug-in hybrid owners will find Chargepoint (grid-connected) stations in several cities. So far, Chicago holds the only Solar Powered Chargepoint station to date.

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