EV Charger Leverages Solar Power To Reduce Electric Grid Strain
A kiosk by EOS Linx uses the sun to bring energy to electric vehicles and awareness to missing children.
The units use power from the electric grid to charge vehicles. A solar panel provides the juice for a digital advertising component, also augmenting the EV charging, says Jeff Hutchins, chief information officer for EOS Linx in New Jersey.
Beyond ads that drive revenue, the company has a partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. One spot within each advertising loop is dedicated to messages from the nonprofit.
So far, about 1o EOS charge stations are in the ground at convenience stores in the Atlanta, Georgia, area, the company says. Each station has two to four chargers. In total, more than 50 charge stations should be installed by the end of 2021, with additional units in 2022 bringing the total to as many as 150 charge stations, the CIO says.
“Our EOS charge stations are modular—each key component can be upgraded/replaced as needed to meet evolving and changing market demands,” according to Hutchins.
“Entire new classes of product and new demographics of users are just getting started. The technology changes faster than it can be permitted and deployed.”
Next up are 41 charge stations planned for the Dallas-Forth Worth area of Texas and another 15 locations in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“We are currently signing site acquisition contracts in other areas in Tennessee and are working on central Florida for kickoffs in the first and second quarter of 2022,” Hutchins says.
“We have five other markets in research and business development. This will be spearheaded with our national partners in gas station convenience, hotel hospitality, and medical outpatient facilities.”
Additional partnerships are reportedly in the works, but EOS Linx isn’t providing details right now. Hutchins says the company also is gathering data on how much excess energy is generated by the solar component and used to augment power from the electric grid. The kiosk’s advertising platform uses 75-inch displays.
“We will analyze that data and use it to develop the next phase solution to be even more energy efficient and leverage energy storage on a larger scale,” the CIO says.
There are other solar car chargers on the market or in the works. There’s definitely a need for more options.
A new study from Juniper Research says the global volume of EV charging sessions will exceed 1.5 billion in 2026, up from just 200 million this year, driven by government incentives and more widespread availability of charging services.
Hutchins says the EOS kiosk is uniquely built for today and tomorrow.
Since the charge stations are modular, “if a more efficient charger, a better charger, a different connection, new internet connectivity, safety features, or any other need becomes available, our trained technicians can swap components in minutes without disrupting any other service.”
There are plans for an app.
“The app is designed to enhance the EV user experience and foster a community (with economic benefits) for EV drivers,” according to Hutchins. “In addition to locating charging stations, the app will be able to share important aspects of EOS charge station locations (including safety and lighting) and encourage users to share their feedback. We want people to feel informed, safe and comfortable when they use our charging network.”
The company says it chooses charge station sites based on a range of assessments, and is putting the units in a variety of locations to help drive EV growth at all income levels.
EOS Linx has been an evolving business for the last four years, and coalesced into its current form in 2020, Hutchins says. Funding has come primarily from initial investor-founders as well as debt-financing. Hutchins says the EOS Linx team and ownership group has extensive experience with federal and state tax incentive programs and has sought to use the programs to support business growth.
“We continue to evaluate additional sources of funding that will allow us to accelerate the growth of our business, including evaluating how we can benefit from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act recently signed into law.”