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UCLA Installs First Solar-Powered EV Charging Station

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20170621_102021_resizedElectric vehicle (EV) commuters can now drive home on sunshine with the installation of the University’s first solar-powered charger in Parking Lot 36, located at Kinross Avenue and Veteran Avenue in Westwood. Bruins and campus visitors can power their green mode of transportation from this environmentally-sound source of energy.

The latest sustainable solution on campus, the new charging station is a transportable setup from Envision Solar that fits in a standard-size parking space and doesn’t reduce parking availability. The station can service multiple EVs at a time and charges power day and night.

Six to eight hours of charging will provide enough renewable energy for a ride home.

This new charging station is part of an effort to make the campus more EV-friendly. Another sun-powered charger will soon be available for use in Lot A behind Murphy Hall.

Four types of Level 1 and Level 2 EV charging stations are already available for the UCLA community and visitors for “top-off” charging in Structures 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 32, MP and SV. Level 1 is free to permit holders and Level 2 costs $2 an hour.

UCLA is charging ahead with plans to install more stations, with close to 400 places where EVs can be plugged in. The goal is to convert 2% of all permit spaces into EV charging spots by the end of the year.

So how does an solar EV charger work? Photovoltaic (PV) energy is captured through a small solar grid attached to a steel plate that sits on the ground. PV panels on top are attached to a battery storage unit in front of the parking stall that is connected to three 110 volt outlets, which provide a Level 1 long-term, low-level charge.

Moving throughout the day, the solar power generator optimizes its position as the sun moves. Electric motors tilt the array 15 degrees in three directions, angling east to catch sunrise, and south and west. This sun tracking technology generates up to 25% more electricity than fixed solar arrays.

The solar panels produce enough electricity each day to fully charge a lithium-ion battery pack that holds 22.5 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Built portable yet tough, the charging station is strong enough to withstand L.A.’s powerful Santa Ana winds and has on-board energy storage that can stay powered during a blackout or other grid failure.

 

Gear to Make Your Electric Vehicle Even More Eco-Friendly

EV UCLA

EV UCLAAs a driver of an electric vehicle (EV), you've made the crucial leap toward eco-friendly transportation. Not only could you be receiving government subsidies for your environmentally-conscious choice, you're also emitting less carbon emissions that contribute to pollution and climate change. While you deserve a pat on the back for your eco-friendly choice, you don't have to stop at the purchase of an EV. Below are five upgrades, gear and tech on the market that will make your EV more eco-friendly.

Upgrade to Efficient Tires

Your old tires can drastically decrease your car's energy efficiency. Avoid neglecting your tires by monitoring for any potential wear and replacing them as needed. Vehicle tires sold by Continental offer eco-friendly options that lower rolling resistance while cutting down carbon dioxide emissions. With temperature-activated functional polymers, these tires offer strong traction and long tread life, allowing you to remain safe in your vehicle in even the worst weather driving conditions.

Install LED Lights

Light emitting diode, or LED, lights are not only environmentally friendly — they're also cost effective and efficient. LED lights have a longer life-span, lasting up to 25 times longer than their counterparts. They also don't contain any mercury, reducing their overall global footprint and environmental impact. LED lights also use less energy and emit less heat than traditional car lights. They're easy to maintain and highly resistant to breaking, allowing you the comfort of driving safely on the road for longer periods of time.

Use a Solar Charger

If you charge your electronics, including smartphones or tablets, using your car's power adapter port, you could be draining your car's battery and its efficiency. With a solar charger like the R7 7 Watt Rollable Solar Panel from Power Film Solar, you can charge electronics without draining your vehicle's battery. This means a longer life span for your car's battery and less periodic maintenance and replacement.

Invest in a GPS Tracking System or Route Planner

One of the easiest ways to make your vehicle more eco-friendly is to practice efficient driving. This includes avoiding speeding while accelerating and braking at a steady pace. A GPS tracking system, including systems sold by Mastrack, is great to keep tabs on your car. But it also provides you with alerts, including:

  • Real-time traffic
  • Google maps to provide you directions
  • Check engine notifications
  • Maintenance monitoring
  • Mileage tracker

You'll also receive alerts if you're driving too fast, which will allow to monitor your average speed and track your vehicle's overall efficiency. For those days you're running errands all over town, download a route planning app such as Route 4 Me that will plan the most efficient commute in just a few seconds. Finding a concise route will save you time and money, and shorten your drive time by up to 35%.