Electric cars

Racer and hot rodder creates a charging solution for electric cars

A former racing driver and hot rodder has turned to electric car charging.

Jim Bardia currently owns an MG Metro 6R4 Group B rally car and a nitrous-boosted V-8 ambulance which he uses to deliver stuffed animals to children’s hospitals. But its biggest project is Change Wind Corporation, which markets a unique EV charging solution called Wind & Solar Tower.

As its name suggests, the 82-foot tower harnesses both wind and solar power to charge electric cars. It consists of a six-blade helical wind turbine with a self-cleaning solar panel on top, all within a two square meter footprint. It can also be paired with a 1000 kWh energy storage array.

Change Wind – Wind and solar tower, to recharge/buffer the grid

The combined solar and wind sources generate up to 52.5 kW, with a total annual output of 169,000 kWh, according to Change Wind Corporation. That’s enough to give 8,455 electric vehicles a year an extra 20kWh, the company claims. Using onsite battery storage, up to six vehicles can be charged at once.

Change Wind Corporation also claims that its design can generate power with winds of just 5 mph, compared to a minimum of 26 mph for commonly used propeller/reel designs. The company also claims that its design does not produce as much noise as conventional wind turbines, requires less maintenance and does not kill birds.

Bardia began work on the design in 2010, and Change Wind Corporation first attempted a commercial launch soon after. The company appears to have run into problems, including being refused trademark registration because the shape was not considered distinctive enough.

Change Wind - Wind and solar tower, to recharge/buffer the grid

Change Wind – Wind and solar tower, to recharge/buffer the grid

The company built two complete towers in Pennsylvania and tested them for five years, but has since taken them apart for design analysis. The company claims they have withstood severe storms.

At this point, the wind and solar tower is not available as the company is seeking funding. It won’t be cheap, though, so it’s not a solution for homeowners. The company says it will cost $484,000 to install before any applicable investment tax credit, or $376,660 after the credit. The company also pointed out that it costs $80,867 per DC fast-charging cord, but that also means each cord will have to do a lot of business to repay that investment.

If successful, the wind and solar tower could help develop grid-independent charging infrastructure. This, and other efforts like Electrify America’s solar-powered charging stations, ensure cars are charged with renewable energy, while reducing demand on the grid.