Solar Tree: Nissan's Futuristic Electric Vehicle Charging Station
Maria Popova is a reader and a writer, and writes about what she reads on Brain Pickings (brainpickings.org), which is included in the Library of Congress archive of culturally valuable materials. She has also written for The New York Times, Wired UK, and The Atlantic, among others, and is an MIT Fellow. She is on Twitter @brainpicker.
After fuseproject's sleek WattStation electric vehicle charging stations for GE, Nissan enters the designer charging station market with Solar Tree – a futuristic solar-powered vehicle charging station. The 40-foot concept is being exhibited at this week's CEATEC 2010 trade show in Chiba, Japan, and consists of three round translucent solar panels that follow the sun across the sky, a biomimetic design inspired by sunflowers. A wireless charging pad in the shape of a clover leaf sits at the base of each station, recharging the batteries from a short distance without any plugs or cords.
Besides vehicle charging, a forest of 1,000 Solar Trees can power up to 7,000 households and offer heat protection during the summer with UV filters in the translucent solar panels and a micro-mist spraying system on the outer edges of the panels.
Solar Tree and its companion, the EPORO robot car, offer an estimated conversion efficiency of 30% based on the stations alone and an additional recharging option in the form of charging lanes on the road that would power the EPORO wirelessly.
Though Solar Tree is still a highly futuristic concept, if Nissan's track record in robotics innovation is any indication – they did, after all, create the first commercially successful humanoid robot, ASIMO – we can expect to see Solar Trees in the cities of the not-so-distant future.
Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.
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