Electric cars are becoming more popular by the day, due to the versatile charging options. In essence, you do not have to drive around town searching for a filling station as you would if you had a gas-driven car. You can conveniently charge your electric car at home, work or at a public charging point.
What’s more amazing is that the cost of charging an electric car is significantly cheaper than filling up a gasoline-powered vehicle. If you consider the fact that electricity prices are much more stable than oil prices, then it makes more sense to make the switch to electric vehicles.
However, despite the numerous benefits electric vehicles have over regular cars, they still fall short as far as the driving range is concerned. Currently, the longest possible driving range of an EV is only about 335 miles on a single charge. Moreover, this range heavily depends on a number of factors other than the battery capacity. Your driving techniques and the terrain on which you are driving on can determine how far you can actually drive before requiring another recharge.
The good news is that the median range of electric cars has increased significantly in the last decade. In effect, you can now drive your EV for longer distances without fearing about the car losing charge.
Unfortunately, public charging points are not as common as regular gas stations. In addition, some drivers may not have off-street parking to charge their cars at home, or access to charging points at work. This can be a huge inconvenience particularly if you are unable to locate a nearby public charge point.
However, with the emergence of new, smarter charging technologies, electric car drivers do not have to rely on the most popular charging option. On the face of it, you can now recharge your electric car using alternative ways such as solar panels, wind power, electric roads, and lampposts. Here are alternative ways to charge an electric car.
1. Solar panels
Solar power is undeniably the most popular alternative source of energy. Therefore, the idea of using solar panels to power electric vehicles is not anything new. After all, most people already use portable solar panels to charge their phones and laptops or heat and light their houses. It is therefore not surprising that solar panels are a viable alternative way to charge electric cars.
On the face of it, using solar energy is undoubtedly one of the cheapest ways of charging an electric car. In any case, energy from the sun is free. You only need to spend money on buying and installing the right solar panels and charging kits. Moreover, solar power is a clean, renewable energy that has the least impact on the environment.
EV owners have two options when it comes to using solar panels to charge their cars. You may opt for a portable solar charging kit that allows you to charge your car on the move or install a stationary solar system that allows you to charge your EV at home. These panels can generate up to 2500kWh, which is sufficient to add a considerable amount of extra range to your electric car.
While electric cars have become more prominent in recent times, the EV charging infrastructure is not as expansive. Apparently, there are very few public charging points where drivers can charge their electric cars in case they run out of power. Nevertheless, various industry agencies have come up with a number of initiatives in a bid to expand the EV charging ecosystem. One such initiative is the use of lampposts as electric car charging points.
This initiative seeks to convert normal streetlights and lampposts into charging points thus giving electric car owners more access to EV chargers. Moreover, it allows car owners who may not have access to off-street parking a viable alternative as far as charging their electric cars is concerned.
Lampposts are so common in major cities and towns around the world. Considering this, it is a sensible idea to install charging points in lampposts. As with any other charging point, the lampposts consist of a charging cable and an inbuilt electronic meter used to monitor the current readings.
3. Electric roads
Another possible way of charging electric cars is through electric roads. This concept involves fitting our roads with electric rails that essentially work by transferring energy from the power grid into our cars via a movable arm on the bottom of the vehicle. The movable arm is able to detect and contact the rail automatically when the car is in motion, thus keeping it charged throughout the journey. When the car turns off the road or overtakes, the movable arm will rise automatically.
Even though electric roads might seem like a futuristic idea, the concept is already undergoing trials in Sweden where various sections of the road network have been fitted with this technology. If this pilot project succeeds, then electric roads might just be the answer to the numerous driving range issues normally associated with electric cars.
4. Wind power
Wind power is another viable alternative to electricity. Moreover, the possibility of charging your electric car using your personal wind turbine is soon becoming a reality if the current trends are anything to go by. Companies such as GE and Urban Green Energy are the force behind the development of wind-powered EV charging stations ideal for use at home or at work. The station consists of a wind turbine that connects directly to the grid and it generates enough power to charge an electric vehicle efficiently.
How will we charge electric cars in the future?
We cannot dispute the fact that EV charging systems have improved tremendously in the last decade. Moreover, electric cars have become better in terms of performance and driving ranges. In essence, EVs can now last longer and travel long distances on a single charge without any issues. However, manufacturers need to develop smarter charging technologies to ensure that electric cars charge faster and easily.