San Diego Airport Testing a Portable Solar EV Charger

San Diego Airport trying out a portable solar EV charger

San Diego Airport trying out a portable solar EV chargerAdministrators at the San Diego International Airport wondered if customers would find value in an electric vehicle charging station. Until now, they would have had to invest tens of thousands, especially if they wanted a solar-powered charging station, just to find out.

But Envision Solar just deployed its new EV ARC, a completely mobile and solar-powered electric vehicle charging station that fits within a single standard parking space. Because the station doesn’t need any permitting, grid connection or new infrastructure, the company was able to deliver it to the cell phone lot at the airport on Tuesday and have it up and running with a car plugged in to charge within a few hours, said Envision CEO Desmond Wheatley.

The EV ARC will be charging cars at the airport’s cell phone lot for two weeks on a trial basis.

“The airport has never used one of these things before and they wanted to know it worked before they invested in it,” Wheatley said.

This is understandable, but also an option that has never existed before. Not only can businesses that want to offer EV charging now negotiate a trial period like this, but they can also make the investment and decide later that the charging station might work better if it were located somewhere else and move it without hassle or expense.

With typical EV charging stations, constructing or moving them requires complicated electrical wiring, permitting, digging, paving and a lot of time.

“Every community is different and they all require different things,” Wheatley stated. “But, in general, all the things that would normally trigger the need for a permit aren’t part of the EV ARC. That results in a huge savings of time and manpower and, therefore, money.”

While that station is portable, it’s not quite so portable that someone could pluck it up and take it home with them on a whim.  

“It would be a lot easier to steal the car parked on top of it charging,” he jokingly added. “And it would be a lot easier to get rid of the car.”

The San Diego airport ARC is the fourth in the United States, but the first that’s available for public charging. Any airport visitor can charge at the station for free during these upcoming two weeks.

Airport Director of Ground Transportation David Boenitz said that the ARC fits with the facility’s sustainability goals and he’s looking forward to seeing the data and gauging public reaction to the trial.

“I have my suspicions about what might happen,” Wheatley said. “But I can’t predict. Our hope is that the San Diego and lots of other airports will see the value in the ARC.”

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