Tesla, the electric car company, has unveiled solar powered electric charging stations in the USA. This is a good step toward sustainable personal transportation.
Not only has Tesla created battery charging stations called Superchargers for electric cars but they are giving the energy away for free to some lucky people. If you own a Model S car made by Tesla then you will soon be able to travel for free right across the USA.
The six California locations unveiled today are just the beginning. By next year, we plan to install Superchargers in high traffic corridors across the continental United States, enabling fast, purely electric travel from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montreal and Los Angeles to New York. Tesla will also begin installing Superchargers in Europe and Asia in the second half of 2013.
The Supercharger is substantially more powerful than any charging technology to date, providing almost 100 kilowatts of power to the Model S, with the potential to go as high as 120 kilowatts in the future. This can replenish three hours of driving at 60 mph in about half an hour, which is the convenience inflection point for travelers at a highway rest stop. Most people who begin a road trip at 9:00 a.m. would normally stop by noon to have lunch, refresh and pick up a coffee or soda for the road, all of which takes about 30 minutes.
We’ve seen DIY iPod solar chargers before and now an Ottawa-based company has produced a consumer one. The PowerTrip is a small battery with a USB jack and a solar panel on it.
Enter the PowerTrip, from Ottawa-based Ecosol. In a package about the size of a deck of cards, the PowerTrip houses a battery that you can top up via the usual USB port or wall socket (the plug swivels out from the side), or using the solar panel that fills most of one side. Just sit it on a sunny windowsill.
Like its USB-powered sibling, the PowerStick, it comes with several connectors that will feed devices with micro- or mini-USB ports, and it will connect to Apple devices. A fully charged PowerTrip can deliver five full charges to your smartphone; a microprocessor prevents phone damage from overcharging. I tested it with a BlackBerry, followed by a Kobo e-reader, both of which the PowerTrip handled with aplomb, with plenty of power left over for other devices. A power meter on the side of the battery shows the state of the charge.
Read more about it and other solar charging solutions at the Globe and Mail.
For those of you with iPods, you may want to ensure that you never have to worry about the battery dying. This is a neat use of small scale solar power, it’s a homemade solar panel that attached to a backpack using velcro that connects to an iPod.
The instructions are easy to follow, and one step is sipping on some coffee (which is hopefully fair trade and organic). If I had an iPod I would try making this, not just for cheap power, but for solar style.