A new ‘pop-up’ solar electric vehicle charging station has been revealed

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A new ‘pop-up’ solar electric vehicle charging station has been revealed in the UK, designed to tackle a shortage of chargers.

Called Papilio3, the ‘solar car parks’ are designed to be easily introduced at destinations such as workplaces, hospitals, sports venues and more. Based around a recycled shipping container, they can be constructed in 24 hours.

Combining solar technology, battery storage and EV charging makes it easier for locations to install them. There are various barriers to traditional EV charge point installation, with long lead times through planning permissions and complex installations.

Solar car park
(3ti)

However, 3ti, the company behind the Papilio3, says its product gets around all of this while using renewable energy. The solar energy that is captured is stored in batteries with a capacity of 250kWh, which then feed chargers rated at a mix of 7, 11 and 22kW.

Although these are not particularly rapid chargers for a quick top-up, they’re ideal for adding a decent amount of battery capacity while EV owners are parked during work hours or while shopping, for example.

The solar car park is also useful for companies that cannot find the capital required to install a traditional charger, because it is available through a monthly rental basis, with 3ti adding that the Papilio3 requires ‘limited approvals’.

Mark Potter, 3ti chief technical officer, said: “As EV drivers, we want to charge when we stop, not stop to charge.

“Rapid charging with 50-250kW is fine for en-route charging during long journeys, but it’s not the right solution for regular use – it increases battery degradation and pushes up electricity prices for everyone, not just those who are charging.

“If you can’t charge at home, it’s best to charge when you arrive at where you’re going. Cars are parked 95 per cent of their time – that’s when and where they should be charged.

“Destination and workplace charging is a more sustainable option, better value and much more convenient.”

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