All over Los Angeles and the rest of the United States, electric vehicles are becoming more common on the highways and side streets. Popular makes and models of electric vehicles and hybrids, such as the Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius, and Ford Focus, have given environmentally conscious drivers more choices to stay on the road while reducing harmful emissions associated with traditional gasoline-powered engines.
Recharging electric vehicles with the clean, green energy that comes only from solar power provides an ideal environmentally friendly combination. Therefore, solar-powered charging stations are widely seen as the next wave of development in electric vehicle technology.
An electric vehicle charging station provides electric energy for the recharging of plug-in electric vehicles, including all-electric cars and hybrids, which run on both gasoline and electricity. According to some estimates, as of late 2012, there were more than 13,967 public electric vehicle charging stations in the United States, with more than 3,000 of those located in California.
More than 10,000 electric vehicle charging stations also are up and running in countries across Europe and Asia.
Many electric car charging stations are available for public use, but some vehicle owners have installed their own personal charging stations in their home garages as an added convenience. Having a charging station in your home greatly increases the range you can drive your vehicle, since you can spend less time driving around looking for a place to recharge.
Solar-Powered Charging Stations Growing
Since most electric vehicle owners are environmentally conscious and driving their vehicles at least in part to help reduce harmful emissions, providing electrical recharges generated by solar power is preferred.
In September 2012, electric vehicle maker Tesla announced that it had installed solar-powered rapid car charging stations at an initial six locations throughout California. The company said the stations would be free for use by owners of Tesla Model S vehicles.
The company's so-called "Supercharger" stations can charge the Model S cars with 100 kilowatts of power, providing up to three hours of driving at 60 mph in about half an hour. Tesla officials said more solar-powered charging stations are planned across the U.S. in 2013.