There has been a motley yet vocal crowd who have repeated the same questions ever since the topic of electrification rose to prominence: “How can the grid support widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption? How can infrastructure be rolled out fast enough? How can we make charging an electric car as quick and convenient as refuelling a gasoline or diesel equivalent?”
The simple answer is we do not: we make the experience even better. You can spend 20 minutes at the wheel of an internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle queueing at the pump, perusing confectionary and standing in line at the till, or you can spend under 30 seconds charging your EV in a state of blissful convenience. The charging technology exists to make this a reality now. Even better: it is renewable and minimises reliance on the grid.
The greatest change required to make this concept a widely adopted reality is to our mindset. EV drivers, legislators, fleet operators and EV charging equipment operators must let go of the reliance on a forecourt refuelling model and consider the potential of workplace and destination charging. How long does it take the 3ti team to charge their fleet of EVs? Usually, the time it takes to plug them in at their destination. When it is time to leave, the vehicle is normally fully charged.
By utilising solar car parks (SCPs) as a workplace and destination charging location, EV drivers can consider a future where a service station rapid charger network is required only to top-up during longer journeys.
Deployment of a solar infrastructure
The best, most cost-effective place to charge an EV is at home overnight. Taking the UK as an example, only around 50% of households will be able to charge at home. Many players believe that workplace and destination SCP infrastructure is best suited to supporting real-world EV use, taking advantage of extended dwell times of several hours to ensure that EV drivers not only experience minimal disruption to planned journey times, but that they can benefit from locally generated solar energy. In the UK, vehicles spend up to 95% of their life parked—from an environmental, societal and sustainability perspective, this is when they should be charged. Fast charging from a renewable source minimises the environmental impact of EV charging and negates the rapid charge/discharge model that accelerates EV battery degradation.
Hospitals, hotels, meeting venues, sports or shopping centres, tourist attractions and workplace carparks are all ideal locations for SCP installation.