Solar Charging the Leaf

Over the last weekend I had to be in nearby Asheville, NC for a show–I present wildlife awareness and conservation shows at events, seminars, schools, camps, birthday parties and so on.  I decided to drive the Leaf the 25 miles to Asheville and plug it in at one of the BrightfieldTS solar charging stations in the downtown area to let it charge while I was presenting.  I arrived at the charging station at about 9:15 to plug in.


The only problem was that I had not received my Chargepoint access card in the mail yet so I had to call Chargepoint to have them activate the charger.  I called and was put on hold for about 30 minuets!  My program was at 10 am and it was about 1.5 mile walk to the location of the program–time was ticking away and I was starting to sweat!  While I was on hold it was interesting to watch people in ICE cars drive up to the station, pull in to park, pause for a moment to read the EV parking only sign then back out in disgust because these four parking spots were reserved for EV’s.  I felt quite privileged actually and I believe rightly so because I have taken the plunge into the future of transportation in this country and that should be acknowledged by at least a parking spot reserved for me to charge my EV with free power from the sun!  More ICE drivers came and went and one Subaru owner just thumbed his nose at the sign and ICED the right hand slot then a Toyota Prius driver pulled in his non-PHEV, and while I watched he parked and walked away as if to say “I can park there because I have a hybrid.”


Sorry buddy, this slot is for EV’s only–hopefully they received a ticket for their blatant disregard for EV drivers.  Later in the day I saw a parking services employee and I asked her what they do when they find an ICE car in an EV slot.  She replied “we give them a $25 education–a ticket.” I smiled and told her where she could find two cars parked in an EV only station.  She thanked me and hurried off–hopefully to go ticket them before they escaped in their carbon belching cars.

While I continued to wait I wondered what the orange safety cone was for in the slot to my left but I just figured it was possibly a broken charger.  Finally the Chargepoint rep picked up the phone–he sounded like he had just awoke after an all nighter–he asked me a few questions for proof of my ID and then turned on the charger and I was charging–WOO HOO!!  I plugged in my car and trotted off to the other side of town to present my program. During the program I received a text from the charging station that my car was charged and I may want to unplug my car–very cool!  After the program I walked across town back to my car only to find a city police Chevy Volt charging next to my Leaf–nice! 


It is really cool to see the Asheville city government using the Volt and charging at a Solar charging station–thank you Asheville!  Now I know what the safety cone was for–saving the space for the Police Volt…hmmmm.  Notice the older pick up ICEing the far right hand slot above–how rude!  I was tempted to go find the officer but I had to get on the road. brightfield4

I unplugged my Leaf and looked at the charger to see what the charge for the charge was–less than $5.00!  My car was fully charged with truly green electricity made from the sun via the PV solar panels on the roof of the charging canopy–NICE!

Now if only everyone who commuted less than 75 miles per day would switch out just one of their cars to a plug in EV, put solar panels on their roof and/or plug in at solar charging stations–what a difference that would make in the world.  The air and the Earth would be cleaner, we would be healthier,  we would not have to rely on as much dirty foreign or domestic oil,  there would be more jobs created to build and maintain EV cars and the EV infrastructure and on and on…

The beauty of the BrightfieldTS charging canopy is that excess power from the solar panels is fed to the grid for everyone to use which simply means more power from locally harvested sun and less from coal!


The future is now and it runs on the sun! It is time we all accept and embrace that fact. The internal combustion engine is the past–it is time to go EV!

Thank you BrightfieldTS for installing and maintaining your wonderful grid-tied solar charging stations–you are true visionaries!


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