Chevrolet, Mitsubishi Launching Solar-Powered EV Charge Stations

By Brandon Turkus

August 03, 2011

Chevrolet and Mitsubishi have announced plans to install solar-powered charging stations for the Chevrolet Volt and forthcoming Mitsubishi i.
 
Chevrolet’s plan will see 24 dealers around the country receive solar-powered charge stations that are capable of juicing up to 12 Volts per day. Called the Green Zone Initiative, canopies lined with solar panels will be constructed at dealerships. The pilot program is being launched at American Chevrolet in Modesto, California, and the Al Serra Auto Plaza in Grand Blanc, Michigan (no comment from Chevy or Al Serra on how the canopies will charge during the six months of the year where Michiganders don’t see the sun).
 
Mitsubishi is taking a similar approach, launching a solar-powered charging station at its Cypress, California headquarters. The station will be able to charge four electric vehicles at once, and features three different types of chargers: the standard 110-volt plug will charge the new Mitsubishi i in 22 hours (that’s a very long workday), while a 220-volt charger cuts that time down to 6 hours. Finally, a quick charge plug can power up an i to 80 percent in about 25 minutes.
 
While these are isolated instances of EV infrastructure being built, we can only imagine that more and more of the stations will begin to pop up as the electric car movement gains momentum.
 
Please scroll down for the official press releases from Chevrolet and Mitsubishi.
 
Chevrolet Harnesses Sun to Power Volts and Dealerships
 
    Capacity to charge a dozen Volts daily; excess energy to supplement dealer’s use
    Two dozen U.S. dealerships pledge to install solar-powered charging stations
 
DETROIT – Chevrolet is harnessing the power of the sun to install solar-powered electric charging stations for its Volts at dealerships in North America. The Green Zone initiative will generate electricity equivalent to 12 full vehicle charges per day and excess electricity created will help supplement the dealership’s power needs.
 
“The Chevrolet Green Zone will provide our U.S. dealers with added flexibility when it comes to charging their vehicles, while also reinforcing GM’s commitment to renewable energy projects,” said Chris Perry, vice president, Global Chevrolet Marketing and Strategy.
 
American Chevrolet in Modesto, Calif., and Al Serra Auto Plaza in Grand Blanc, Mich., are the first U.S. dealerships to complete their solar charging capability by installing Green Zones on their property.
 
“The question isn’t whether to install a solar canopy, it’s where and how many,” said Joe Serra, president of Serra Automotive. “It’s a win for us because the electricity generated will help reduce operating costs, and it’s a win for the environment since solar power helps reduce our carbon footprint.”
 
Each canopy generates enough electricity for up to 4,500 charges per vehicle annually. The proof of concept for the Green Zone project is housed at the Detroit Hamtramck assembly plant, manufacturing home of the Volt.
 
“The beauty of this program is that there is no capital cost required from the dealership,” said Dave Halvorson, president of American Chevrolet in Modesto. “Not only do we generate the solar energy to increase our reliance on renewable electricity, but the Green Zone is a billboard of our commitment to the environment.”
 
The Chevy Green Zone Initiative is part of GM Ventures’ recent announcement to invest $7.5 million in Sunlogics, a solar panel manufacturing and development company that will supply the panels and install the dealer charging stations. Both American Chevrolet and Al Serra Chevrolet partnered with Sunlogics for installation of their Green Zones.
 
“Just one of these canopies provides enough renewable energy to power two to three homes per year, or more than 25 percent of a dealership’s energy consumption,” said Perry. “Collectively, that will be a lot of power we are putting back into the grid.”
 
As part of the GM Ventures investment announcement in Sunlogics, General Motors committed to double its solar output globally – from 30 megawatts to 60 megawatts by 2015. The company derives 1.4 percent of its U.S. energy consumption from renewable resources.
 
GM is the leading user of renewable energy in automotive manufacturing. It has three of the largest automotive rooftop solar power installations in the United States, and the world’s largest rooftop solar installation at its car assembly plant in Zaragoza, Spain. Additionally, GM has started construction on a new solar field at its Detroit-Hamtramck facility and completed construction on a solar array on top of its Baltimore Operations facility.
 
About Chevrolet
Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers “gas-friendly to gas-free" solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended range. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com
 
About Sunlogics
 
Sunlogics PLC is a vertically-integrated global solar energy systems provider specializing in solar project development and installation. Sunlogics has a strategic partnership with Sunlogics Power Management Fund Inc (SLMU:US) and with other entities for the purpose of owning and operating solar projects developed by Sunlogics PLC. The scope of the company’s current projects and operations reach to the nations of the world including Canada, United States, Europe and China. More information can be found at www.sunlogics.com.
 
Mitsubishi Electric and Mitsubishi Motors Debut Solar-Powered Vehicle Charging Station
 
CYPRESS, Calif., July 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, Inc. (Mitsubishi Electric) and Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) today debuted a solar-powered charging station for electric vehicles at the MMNA headquarters in Cypress, California. This charging facility, the first of its kind in Cypress, symbolizes MMNA's commitment to electric vehicle readiness, and will help kick off the preparations as certified Mitsubishi dealers become EV-ready in anticipation of the scheduled launch date of Mitsubishi i for each state. The charging station is powered by 96, 175W photovoltaic modules from Mitsubishi Electric. This charging station will help support CHAdeMO compatible electric vehicles such as the Mitsubishi i, which will arrive in showrooms in November of this year. Mitsubishi i vehicles are now being reserved by prospective owners through a pre-order process available at i.mitsubishicars.com.
 
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110707/LA31377-a)
 
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110707/LA31377-b)
 
Able to charge up to four vehicles at once, the station features three types of chargers with different voltages: standard level 1 voltage (110v) will deliver a 100 percent charge in 22 hours on the new Mitsubishi i; level 2 (220v) which can charge the vehicle in six hours; and level 3 CHAdeMO Quick Charger, which can charge to 80 percent battery capacity in 25 minutes.
 
The DC Quick Charger used for the Cypress charging station is manufactured by the Eaton Corporation, and is the first-of-its-kind CHAdeMO Quick Charger certified for U.S. sale and public utility. The actual installation of the charging equipment and the supporting electrical infrastructure was handled by Rogers Electric. The twin-arch structure for the charging station was designed by California Green Designs.
 
The charging station is the first such collaboration between the two similarly named companies, whose headquarters are just a few blocks apart in northern Orange County. Situated near the junction of the 405 and 605 freeways, the hope is that the Cypress charging station, with its Quick Charge capability, can serve as a gateway charging pad for Mitsubishi i users commuting between Los Angeles and Orange counties. 
 
"This project will build awareness of solar power's versatility and efficiency," said Katsuya Takamiya, president and chief executive officer, Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA. "As electric vehicles' popularity grows, we expect to see more charging stations at large employers, automobile dealerships, shopping centers and schools, where cars can charge while people work, shop or study."
 
Mitsubishi Motors North America President Yoichi Yokozawa said "We hope that our dealers, learning institutions, and municipalities will look to this technology with a keen eye towards the future, and bear in mind that the gradual acceptance of the pure-EV transportation will be aided by increasing the number of facilities like this one."
 
Mitsubishi Electric's solar panels are made with 100 percent lead-free solder, and have one of the higher sunlight-to-energy conversion ratios in the industry, adding to the project's efficiency and sustainability.
 
About Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA's Photovoltaic Division
 
Mitsubishi Electric is one of the world's largest manufacturers and providers of solar power technology. The company's eco-friendly photovoltaic systems are used throughout the world to bring clean, reliable energy to residences, businesses, power generation plants, schools, factories and more. Mitsubishi Electric photovoltaic panels are marketed by Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, Inc., and sold only through approved distributors and installers. To learn more visit www.MitsubishiElectricSolar.com or call 714.220.2500.
 
About Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
 
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for all manufacturing, finance, sales, marketing, research and development operations for Mitsubishi Motors in the United States. MMNA sells coupes, convertibles, sedans and sport utility vehicles through a network of approximately 400 dealers. In November of 2011, MMNA will launch the battery electric Mitsubishi i as part of a corporate mission to offer consumers more environmentally responsible modes of transportation. This battery electric vehicle technology addresses the need for vehicles that produce zero tailpipe emissions and support a growing agenda for sustainability.
 
SOURCE Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, Inc.
 
For further information: Maurice (Moe) Durand, Manager, Product Communications, Mitsubishi Motors, +1-714-372-6567, M1Durand@mmsa.com, or Mark S. Scott, Senior Manager, Public Relations, Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA, +1-714-220-6896, Mark.Scott@meus.mea.com