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Mitsubishi's Bright Idea Steps Into The Light: A Solar-Powered i Charging Station

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On: Mon, Jul 11, 2011 at 11:13AM | By: Andrew W Davis

Mitsubishi's Bright Idea Steps Into The Light: A Solar-Powered i Charging Station

The folks that brought you the fearsome Evo X have gone to the other end of the scale by bringing a fully-electric car to market—the idiotically-named "i" (yup, one letter, and in lowercase no less)—and a way to charge it using nothing but millions of dollars and sun-sourced juice via a solar “charging facility” like the one the firm built at its Southern California HQ.

“Able to charge up to four vehicles at once, the station features three types of chargers with different voltages: standard level 1 voltage (110v) will deliver a 100 percent charge in 22 hours on the new Mitsubishi i; level 2 (220v) which can charge the vehicle in six hours; and level 3 CHAdeMO Quick Charger, which can charge to 80 percent battery capacity in 25 minutes.”

That’s good, I suppose, if you work in the building and are one of the four lucky enough to win a turn in the charger (top prize is a spot in that “CHAdeMO” thing!). But what about you? If you buy an “i” and have a spacious yard, can you make the sun work for you? [SPOILER ALERT! The answer is—mostly—“no.”]

“This charging facility, the first of its kind in Cypress, symbolizes MMNA's commitment to electric vehicle readiness, and will help kick off the preparations as certified Mitsubishi dealers become EV-ready in anticipation of the scheduled launch date of Mitsubishi i for each state. The charging station is powered by 96, 175W photovoltaic modules from Mitsubishi Electric. This charging station will help support CHAdeMO compatible electric vehicles such as the Mitsubishi i, which will arrive in showrooms in November of this year.”

For those wondering, “CHAdeMO” is an “abbreviation of CHArge de Move” or “charge for moving” and a play on “O cha demo ikaga desuka” in Japanese, which in English translates to “How about some tea” (while charging)” in English.

That tangled translation aside, it’s really an association created by The Tokyo Electric Power Co., Nissan, Mitsubishi and the folks that make Subarus. Its aim is to “increase quick-charger installations worldwide and to standardize how to charge the vehicles.”

Anyhoo, here’s how Mitsubishi explains it:

“The DC Quick Charger used for the Cypress charging station is manufactured by the Eaton Corporation, and is the first-of-its-kind CHAdeMO Quick Charger certified for U.S. sale and public utility. The actual installation of the charging equipment and the supporting electrical infrastructure was handled by Rogers Electric. The twin-arch structure for the charging station was designed by California Green Designs.

“The charging station is the first such collaboration between the two similarly named companies, whose headquarters are just a few blocks apart in northern Orange County. Situated near the junction of the 405 and 605 freeways, the hope is that the Cypress charging station, with its Quick Charge capability, can serve as a gateway charging pad for Mitsubishi i users commuting between Los Angeles and Orange counties.

"’This project will build awareness of solar power's versatility and efficiency,’ said Katsuya Takamiya, president and chief executive officer, Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA. ‘As electric vehicles' popularity grows, we expect to see more charging stations at large employers, automobile dealerships, shopping centers and schools, where cars can charge while people work, shop or study.’

“Mitsubishi Motors North America President Yoichi Yokozawa said, ‘We hope that our dealers, learning institutions, and municipalities will look to this technology with a keen eye towards the future, and bear in mind that the gradual acceptance of the pure-EV transportation will be aided by increasing the number of facilities like this one.’"

So if you own an “i”—whenever they go on sale—and work REALLY close to Mitsubishi’s charging station at its SoCal HQ, it seems they’re willing to juice you up. And no offense to the wizards at “Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA”, but quick-chargers have existed for a while and are (admittedly-thinly) already on the ground, so all the solar hooey is cool, I guess, but seems like what my grandfather would call “A hammer in search of a nail.”

There you go. Mitsubishi has thrown the first grenade in the fight towards an EV-oriented future, and shown how its intent to create a future populated with a solar-powered charging infrastructure could—nay, SHOULD—make everything super-fantastic.

In northern Orange County, anyway, near the junction of the 405 and 605 freeways…

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RoadKill | 12:48PM (Tue, Jul 12, 2011)

EV charging technology will work great for mall cops and amusement parks...


dwalter | 2:41PM (Tue, Jul 12, 2011)

true - making them a step up from a golf cart or Segway

  • dwalter

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