First solar-powered DC fast-charging stations in use in the US
Three solar-powered direct current fast-charging (DCFC) electric vehicle charging stations were installed at the Camp Roberts Rest Areas along US 101 in Monterey County and the Shandon Rest Area near Highway 46 East in San Luis Obispo County.
These are the first, solar-powered DC-fast charging stations in use in the United States. These locations were selected to encourage longer travel trips by electric vehicles in remote rural areas.
These locations now provide EV motorists access to renewably powered DC Fast Charging stations.
“With over 650,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road in California, the installation of these stations at strategic locations along the state highway system will allow the public to travel with greater ease, convenience and zero tail-pipe emissions,” said Caltrans District 5 Sustainability Manager Aileen Loe.
The Camp Roberts and Shandon ChargePoint Express250 charging stations are powered by the EV ARC system, combining sun-tracking solar power generation with battery storage to provide energy for electric vehicles. Charging is free to the public in 30-minute increments. This sustainable technology solution can charge day or night, during inclement weather and offers CCS1 and CHAdeMO cables. Tesla drivers can also use the stations if they carry an adapter. EV motorists can assess the availability of the stations through ChargePoint and Plug Share smartphone applications.
This EV ARC system generates and stores electricity, allowing emergency responders to use these facilities to obtain emergency power in the event of an earthquake, wildfire or other disasters.
The Camp Roberts facility was funded by the Monterey Bay Air Resources District (MBARD) at the cost of $1.4 million, including long-term system maintenance.
“MBARD is pleased to partner with Caltrans District 5 on this unique electric vehicle infrastructure project, which makes DC charging available at the Camp Roberts and Shandon Rest Areas. These strategic locations on US 101 and Hwy. 46 East fill a gap in the network of charging stations along these important corridors. By funding the installation of fast-charging stations, MBARD promotes the adoption of fully electric vehicles,” said MBARD Air Pollution Control Officer Richard A. Stedman.
The Shandon Rest Area charging station was completed with funding contributions from the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (SLOAPCD) as part of a larger $2 million project executed by the Hoseley Corporation of San Francisco.
This renewable energy EV charging system was invented, manufactured and installed by Envision Solar, International.
“We applaud Caltrans, MBARD and SLOAPCD for their vision in deploying our first-of-its-kind solar-powered DC fast charging system that operates even without the grid,” said Desmond Wheatley, CEO of Envision Solar. “This made-in-California system is setting a standard for 100% emissions-free driving and DC fast charging, even in remote locations and is produced in our San Diego factory for use anywhere in the world.”
For more information on this project and for traffic updates on other Caltrans projects, travelers may call the District 5 toll-free number at 1-831-372-0862 or visit our website at https://dot.ca.gov/caltrans-near-me/district-5.