Photovoltaic solar panels are quickly becoming the accepted ultimate accessory for any self-respecting electric car owner. So much so that Ford recently announced that it has negotiated special discount pricing on SunPower solar panels, meaning 2012 Ford Focus Electric owners could get an array capable of charging up their car on sunshine for just $10,000.
But if photovoltaic panels are getting a little too common, or you live in one of the states better known for its wind rather than its sunshine, a New York company has come up with a way to charge your electric car on wind power alone.
Called the Sanya Skypump, the wind-powered charging station combines a 4 kilowatt vertical axis wind turbine atop a 42-foot tower, feeding a GE Wattstation charging point.
Unlike traditional wind turbines, vertical axis wind turbines require very little space to operate, and are generally considered better for urban environments than their windmill-like ancestors.
In winds between 7 and 26 mph, the Sanya Skypump should produce enough energy to charge an electric car, but of course the charging time does vary according to just how much energy the Skypump is able to harvest from the wind.
General Electric GE WattStation charging
At $30,000, the unit is primarily aimed at parking lots and other commercial installations where a six to eight hour recharge time is acceptable.
And because the 42 foot towers are about the same height as a tall streetlight, they should blend in with existing street furniture, keeping local governments happy - although we’re not sure they come in green.
The Sanya Skypump is due to be tested in Barcelona, Beijing and New York City next year and we’ll be looking at the results with great interest.
Gimmick or charging point of the future? Tell us in the Comments below.
[Urban Green Energy via FastCompany]