Solar Electric Charging Stations in California

This entry was posted by on Thursday, 15 July, 2010 at

Electric cars are a sustainable alternative to petroleum powered cars, since electric cars do not need a constant supply of gasoline or diesel to fuel them. One of the major issues with powering electric cars is the sustainability of their power supply, as charging an electric vehicle from a wall socket likely means that the car is using electricity generated by coal plants or other nonrenewable sources. In addition, electric generator stations are not available in many locations.

A partnership between the solar company Solar City and Rabobank provides solar power to many California residents. Rabobank is assisting in two ways, it is financing construction of solar power generation facilities, and it is setting up electric power charging stations at bank branches. Many banks offer their customers pens, I don’t know of any that offer their customers a place to refuel their cars. The Rabobank locations offering power generation are in locations such as Atascadero and Salinas, along the coast and inland area following Highway 101 in Central California. Central California includes many long stretches of highway where cities and gas stations are rare and it could be 30 miles before reaching the next station, so this is very useful to drivers of electric vehicles which may have a shorter range than gas powered vehicles. There are plenty of electric charging stations in Los Angeles and San Francisco, so providing a charging station halfway between the cities is the logical step. According to Rabobank, there will be six power generation stations in Central California producing a combined 200 kilowatts of solar power to charge electric cars’ batteries.

This charging station project is also operating with the assistance of Tesla Motors, an electric vehicle manufacturer. According to Tesla Motors, Solar City already builds electric chargers for home charging of Tesla Motors cars. The partnership ensures that these charging stations are designed to operate with existing electric vehicles available on the California market. Although Tesla mentions that these stations are in populated locations, most of these towns are extremely small compared to the densely populated Southern California and Northern California locations. Adding locations in Goleta, Watsonville, Salinas, and a few other cities cuts the distance between charging stations to around 60 miles as far as I can tell which should provide plenty of leeway. It would be interesting to see charging stations on the northern section of 101 up to Portland. Although much of the area is heavily forested, people up there are environmentally conscious enough to make it work. Arcata has an electric charging system already, so chargers in the Mendocino region would be the most helpful.

One Response to “Solar Electric Charging Stations in California”

  1. Yes your right. Electric cars are a sustainable alternative to petroleum powered cars. Thank you very much for the update on saving the planet.