Mall pilots fast electric vehicle charger powered by solar panels

The installation at Simon Property Group's site in Carmel, Indiana, also includes an integrated battery for storing the electricity.

SimonProperty

Giant property management company Simon Property Group has been experimenting with electric vehicle charging infrastructure for some time now, but its new installation in Carmel, Indiana, marks a departure into unknown territory for several reasons.

Not only does the fast-charging system rely on 10 kilowatts (10 kW) of solar generating capacity, it also comes with an integrated, 75-kW battery from Toshiba to store that power when it is cloudy or for when the system is used during evening hours.  The first-of-its-kind installation includes both a traditional charger as well as a "quick charge" option, so that electric vehicle batteries can be replenished more quickly.

Currently, there isn't a charge for electric vehicle drives to use the system while they are parked at the mall. 

A number of companies were involved in pulling off the installation, including Toshiba, Duke Energy, ITOCHU Corp., Tom Wood Automotive Group and Indiana's cleantech program, called Energy Systems Network.

"The majority of our shopping malls across the state are now equipped with electric vehicle charging stations, and we're seeking to upgrade this infrastructure just like we work to enhance every aspect of our customers' shopping experience," said George Caraghiaur, senior vice president of sustainability for Simon Property.

The company manages 337 retail real estate locations that account for 245 million square feet of space in North America and Asia. At latest count, Simon Property had installed almost 100 chargers - almost double the 55 chargers it had installed this time last year.

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