SolarBotanic has officially presented its new project for urban chargers for electric cars; its main goal is to offer attractive aesthetics and optimal functionality. From the London-based company, they stated that the first charging stations in the form of a "solar tree" will arrive in 2023 to recharge electric vehicles and to provide home energy supply.
The idea for the SolarBotanic project was born a little over 7 years ago. During its development period many companies and partners joined the project, such as world-class architects and suppliers that guarantee the supply of the latest technology materials in the photovoltaic panel sector, as well as Brunel University from London. The premise is clear: to offer an aesthetically attractive, functional and affordable alternative to conventional chargers and solar panels.
In recent years SolarBotanic has basically focused on optimizing the results through many lab tests, mainly using its own photovoltaic cells; once this activities produced the first fruits, the company carried out the official presentation of the project. They are already hoping to build a first functional prototype in a real environment to validate the model, along with the corresponding lab tests. The facilities will be located at the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Center) in Sheffield, England, and should be ready during the first quarter of 2023.
In parallel the British company is already working on the development of a commercial version called SolarBotanic Tree v01, which if everything goes as planned, will be available throughout the second half of 2023. Later, a version called v02 is expected to arrive, and it will come equipped with an energy management system (EMS) and a battery storage and fast charging system for electric cars. Its arrival, as we said before, is not expected until at least the end of 2023. Finally, the most advanced variant called v03 will be available in 2025 and will include energy storage obtained through its solar panels and tiny wind modules.
Specifically designed to resemble a tree, these charging stations are intended to introduce solar panels into public spaces in an aesthetically pleasing, nice looking way. Its panels are similar – or try to resemble - to the leaves of a tree. The first v01 variant is expected to be capable of generating a total of 5 kW of power which, according to the company, is enough to power a three-bedroom house. In the v02 version all the excess energy will be stored in an attached battery (thus the comparison with Tesla Powerwall), for later use or sale.
SolarBotanic specifies that its chargers are especially suitable for being located in parking lots for electric cars that want to move away from the design of current facilities; for gardens or entrances of personal homes, and even for urban spaces. In the coming years, the British company expects its units to expand to other geographical locations, in addition to Great Britain, such as continental Europe or North America. At the moment there is not confirmation about the possible cost of these solar photovoltaic "trees", but we will keep you updated as soon as any news is available.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.