Off-grid charging stations may have the power to improve EV infrastructure in the states.
By now you’re probably used to seeing parking lots equipped with solar-powered EV charging stations. The vast majority of these units are directly connected to the local power grid, allowing them to function even when the sun isn’t shining and solar power is at a minimum. This connection also means there’s no need for a large backup battery pack, something that can help keep prices down, too.
Beam Global thinks off-grid charging stations are a worthy alternative, though, as reported by Forbes. The San Diego-based company is selling chargers with batteries, and claims they can actually be more cost-effective than those connected to the grid. This may sound counterintuitive, but the company could have a point.
Off-grid chargers typically require backup batteries and are more vulnerable to the whims of nature, but they are also easier and cheaper to install. The main reason is that they don’t need to be physically connected to the grid, which cuts out one major step of the installation process. Because of this, the charging stations can be installed as soon as they arrive at their location, and there’s no need to bring in a licensed contractor to handle the wiring.
Even if Beam’s chargers do catch on, don’t expect grid-tied stations to go anywhere anytime soon, especially in sun-drenched states like Arizona and California. Why? They are viewed as integral to the success of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging, a technology experts believe has the potential to ease the burden on the US’s over-taxed power grid in the years to come. These charging stations will conceivably be able to feed the grid in some of these states, specifically during the hottest (and sunniest) months of the year.
Either way, with EV adoption now finally starting to pick up the pace, the more charging stations the country has the better.