Tuesday, April 8, 2014


     With the greater emphasis placed on environmental concerns in the past few decades, many people have been searching for new and innovative ways to limit their impact on the environment, often by trying to shrink their carbon footprint. Since transportation makes up a large portion of each individual's carbon footprint, many people have tried to make a difference by buying more fuel efficient vehicles, taking public transportation more often, and rarely by buying electric vehicles. Despite the fact that it is commonly accepted that the products from gasoline use are causing great environmental problems, electric cars still face criticisms because of their short battery life, few recharging stations, and the fact that the energy they use often still is created using fossil fuels.

EV ARC™ is displayed during EV Week, in the Bay Area & Silicon Valley.      Enter the EV ARC, created by Envision Solar. It is a portable (though heavy) solar charging station developed to help address some of the common concerns with electric cars. Each unit stores enough energy to fully charge one vehicle per day, or enough to give multiple vehicles partial charges. Because it is more portable than other solar charging stations, many hope that it will begin showing up in parking lots throughout cities and rural areas and therefore increase the number of people who are willing to consider owning an electric vehicle. Environmentally, it is also better than most electric car charging stations, since it is not attached to any electric grid. Most solar energy comes in through the grid, meaning that up to 75% of it may have been produced using fossil fuels or another form of energy that creates carbon emissions. Obviously, regular solar power is better than just burning coal or fossil fuels, but the EV ARC is taking things a step further. Since it has a battery in it capable of storing enough energy for one solar vehicle, there are no wires or connections to anything else, which further decreases the reliance on carbon emission-producing fuels.

     The CEO of Envision Solar, Desmond Wheatley, wants to "[give] environmentally conscious business owners, individuals and officials and opportunity to get to know the only transportable and fully renewably energized EV Charger in the world." It truly is an innovative product pushing in the right direction to resolve many of the inconsistent and conflicting feelings that people have regarding climate change. As Collins and Amabile explain, Freud hypothesized that creativity is a way to work through conflicts and divert energy into a more socially acceptable direction. The creation of a product like the EV ARC seems to do both, as it seeks to solve the conflict between the desire to protect the environment and the desire for cars to continue to function in much the same way that they have for the past several decades.

     Of course, the EV ARC still needs a lot of development if it is to entice the majority of the population to drive electric vehicles. An increase in battery life - both in the cars and the charger itself, will convince many who currently would not consider electric vehicles to switch over. As it is, the fact that each unit can only recharge one car to full in a day means that it is not terribly useful for public spaces, but a battery that could charge closer to ten or even more vehicles would make it a smarter buy even for places like grocery stores and shopping malls. The price is also currently a barrier, as it is priced at $40,000 - essentially the same price as buying a second car. Over time, the money saved in gas adds up, but that sill doesn't solve the issue of the upfront payment required.

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