Envision Solar’s Solar EV ARC charging station. [Photo by Envision Solar]

California’s Governor Brown recently released an executive order announcing a new Zero-Emission Vehicle Initiative. In the order, the Governor called for at least five million electric vehicles on California’s roads by 2030. The consumer will consign that initiative to the annals of history as one of the very rare worthy goals that was exceeded by a significant margin.

Volvo has just announced that by 2019 all its vehicles will either be hybrid or fully electric; Ford has announced an $11B investment in EVs; VW, BMW, Mercedes have all committed to electric portfolios and so has GM. The consumer will have such a broad and exciting set of EV choices by 2030 that it’s inconceivable that they won’t exceed the Governor’s goals. EVs are already a great choice and from a total cost of ownership point of view, they are competitive with Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles.

Imagine what a decade of Moore’s Law paced innovation will do to the future product choices. That’s right – I said Moore’s Law. For the first time in the history of the automobile, we will see the sorts of advances in automobiles that we have become accustomed to seeing in computers. EVs are computers on wheels and they are advancing at a rate never before seen in the automotive industry.

Consumers like that. They will buy the latest and greatest technology every time – especially when it keeps getting better and cheaper. So thank you, Governor Brown for setting a worthy goal – and thank you in advance Californians for beating it, like I know you’re going to.

If there’s one potential hurdle to this rapid adoption it will be the lack (perceived or real) of EV charging infrastructure. That is presumably why Governor Brown included a call for at least 250,000 public EV chargers to be deployed by 2025.

Envision Solar’s Solar EV ARC charging station. [Photo by Envision Solar]

The Governor understands that in this chicken and egg scenario the infrastructure has to come before the mass consumer adoption of the cars. EVs don’t work if you can’t charge them. Consumers don’t like tech that doesn’t work. Even 250,000 public chargers will not suffice, but they will provide enough locations to create a sense of comfort in the consumer. That comfort will lead to increased EV sales which in turn will lead to an increase in investment in EV charging infrastructure: A positive feedback loop.

I like the 250,000 goal, but I do see significant challenges in reaching it if California continues to do things the old way. To date, the entire EV charging industry has deployed less than 20,000 public EV chargers – and not for lack of effort. It’s just difficult and time-consuming to get an EV charger installed in most locations where drivers want to charge. In fact, California’s Department of General Services recently told me that it takes an average of 18 months to go through the process of planning and installing a utility grid-tied EV charger.

It’s hard to make the arithmetic work. 250,000 chargers by 2025 means 40,000 a year for the next 6 years, or thereabouts. The entire industry has installed less than 20,000 in the last decade in California and it takes months to install the average grid tied charger.

There has to be a better way. If you follow Envision Solar, you already know there is.

Envision Solar can deploy an EV charger in eight minutes, not 18 months.

We demonstrated it, live and unrehearsed, in front of an audience of potential customers at our December Tacos ‘n’ Beer event. We have already scheduled the next such event in Orange County and we plan to do about 10 more of them this year.

Seeing is believing and we want every potential buyer of an EV charger to see us deploy in less than 10 minutes. Education is key and when you have a product which is as unique as ours, you have to work to show buyers that it is not too good to be true, even if it seems that way.

California’s Department of General Services has some very aggressive EV charger installation goals. They know that they need to find ways to speed up the process. That’s why, last week, they sent a delegation to visit our factory in San Diego.

They already buy our products and they’ve seen them working in the field. Now they have visited our factory and seen our fine team of combat vets, disabled workers, minorities, and other great Americans creating the future of fuel. I was impressed by the people who came from DGS: Very smart and very discerning.

I’m looking forward to a day when Envison Solar’s rapidly deployed, highly scalable, renewably energized EV charging products are ubiquitous in California. I believe that day is coming. California is a massive opportunity for our company and it’s just one state in one country. This is a global opportunity. Our products can deliver the same value in Europe and Asia as they do in California and the rest of the U.S.

The world will need millions of EV charging stations and we mean to play an outsized role in delivering them.

— Desmond Wheatley, CEO of Envision Solar

Desmond Wheatley is CEO of Envision Solar. Envision Solar is a San Diego, Calif.-based sustainable technology innovation company. Envision makes renewably energized electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, media and branding, and energy security systems. Its diverse product portfolio is based upon the EV ARC™ and Solar Tree® products. Wheatley joined Envision Solar as a consultant in 2010 and has served as the Company’s CEO since 2011 and as Chairman of the Board since 2016. 

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