Shoppers at Clay Terrace in Carmel, Ind. can, as of yesterday, charge their EV while shopping through an innovative charging station.
The Simon Property Group, Toshiba Corporation, Duke Energy, ITOCHU Corporation, Tom Wood Automotive Group and Indiana’s “clean tech” initiative Energy Systems Network (ESN) have teamed up to develop what the team said is one of the most advanced charging stations in the world for plug-in cars.
Clay Terrace’s new vehicle charging station is integrated with solar panels and a battery storage system, creating a “plug-in ecosystem” which uses renewable energy combined to a battery system to store surplus power for evenings and cloudy days.
Central Indiana was chosen as the first site for the cutting-edge charging station based on the partners’ mutual engagement with ESN and its Project Plug-IN campaign.
“Indiana is becoming known as an ideal location for companies and research institutions to collaborate, develop and test new clean technologies,” said Paul Mitchell, ESN’s president & CEO. “It’s exciting that Hoosiers have the opportunity to get the first look at these innovative systems, but even more significant to Indiana’s economy is the fact that the clean tech sector recognizes our state as a place where innovation is embraced and validated.”
The “plug-in ecosystem” installed at the mall contains both traditional and “quick charge” charging stations that are connected to a 10-kilowatt roof-mounted solar panel. The solar energy can be stored in the Toshiba 75-kilowatt lithium ion battery, located next to the charging system.
According to Ryuji Maruyama, General Manager of Toshiba’s Smart Community Division, “Toshiba developed its end of the ‘Plug-in Ecosystem’ for North America by combining existing micro-EMS (energy management system) optimization control capabilities with our latest rechargeable battery technology. This system ensures the efficient management of load within the EV charging system.”
The team of companies involved in the project said in a release that this system is unique as a “real-world” demonstration of smart charging technologies rather than a test site. Its direct connection to the Duke Energy electrical grid, and its public location at a shopping mall allows customers to experience and learn about the technology firsthand.
For Duke Energy, the installation provides a valuable model for how renewable energy can be aligned with advanced storage technologies to provide a practical power source.
“Innovations in grid energy storage can have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of renewable energy usage,” said Zachary Kuznar, Senior Project Manager, Emerging Technology Office at Duke Energy. “Because renewable energy sources like solar and wind are intermittent and less reliable, incorporating energy storage can make them much more stable. This system at Clay Terrace allows us to even out the variable solar output, shift energy from off-peak to peak energy usage times and ‘buffer’ the grid from electric vehicle charging, which can use a substantial amount of energy, particularly with DC quick charging.”
The Clay Terrace charging system is located at the north end of the parking lot just north of Dick’s Sporting Goods. Currently the charging system is available to customers at no cost.