Page 6 - North American Clean Energy November/December 2018 Issue
P. 6

  editor's note
I’m okay with paying for things, but those little credit card machines are a continual source of stress in my daily life. You’d think something so simple and technologically advanced (supposedly) would be easy to navigate. Instead, I find myself waiting for
whatever actions the next screen will demand of me. Do I swipe? Do I insert the chip? Do I sign before or after I take out my card? Will it beep or flash to remind me that I’m holding up the line of people behind me? Don’t pretend you’ve never gone through the same thing. I can safely say if I ever meet the person who created these things, I will smack them upside the head.
But that’s the main problem – no one person did this. I can’t hold a single company responsible for my incredibly unsatisfying, end user experience. Which makes me that much more hesitant to dive into the next big tech revolution. Case in point: electric vehicles. I already have enough to deal with remembering on which side of my car the gas cap opens. I’m all for competition. I understand the need for companies to differentiate themselves from similar offerings in the marketplace, but I’m inclined to wait until those EV companies get their ducks in a row on the basics: is the charger input always on the front? If I choose to recharge
at stations run by competing companies, will I know what buttons to push and which handle to choose? Technology won’t make our lives easier unless it’s easy to use. That goes double for clean energy; the customer expects providers to have learned from their predecessors’ mistakes.
While wandering the outdoor plaza at SPI in Anaheim, I tried my luck at charging an EV on display. Not wanting to look like I didn’t know what I was doing, I asked someone in a nifty polo shirt to help me. Clearly, I wasn’t the only adult that didn’t want to look foolish, since my activity quickly drew
news bites
The EV industry is still young enough for everyone to
get on the same page. Chargers can be different colors or shapes, sport awesome company logos, and can even be price competitive, but the industry needs to communicate more clearly or consumers will throw in the towel and
go back to big oil. Charging is gearing up to be a massive segment of the EV industry. Those chargers are a company’s primary interface with their customer – every time drivers use a charger, they are bonding with that brand.
EV companies have a unique opportunity to shape their industry if they take the time now to figure out what’s important to their potential consumers. They can ask current EV drivers about their biggest pet peeve when charging, and then fix it. Consumer research has been around forever for a reason – it works.
If we’re all aiming to make green energy more mainstream, we need to approach our audience the way we would in any business; actively seek customer feedback to discover what they want, and then give it to them. Chargers in easily accessible locations? Check. Faster charging
rates? Check. Simple to use? We’re getting there. Think about your experience when you go to fill up your car at
a regular gas station. There’s a certain degree of comfort and familiarity in the process – if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. You may choose one brand over another
due to price, convenience, cleanliness, or loyalty points, but no matter where you go, you’ll know how to use the equipment. Contrast that with EV charging “stations”. With the exception of a brightly painted stanchion, nearly every other charging company challenges their users with a proprietary interface. For newbies, it can be daunting. For prospective EV buyers, it can be downright intimidating.
We all want the use of clean energy and green technology to become second nature, but until we make it feel as familiar and mundane as pumping gas, we won’t get very
Challenges of building a 403kW carport structure
The Building Department classified
this project as “impossible”, while the
City of Irvine classified it not as a shade structure, but rather an additional floor on the building which triggered a host
of invasive Planning / Building & Safety requirements. The site is next door to
the John Wayne Airport which meant a full FAA review was required. The system was on top of a parking structure, but powering a building 500ft away. That distance had to be trenched through landscape, parking, and sidewalks. The building is occupied by high end offices with tenants who could not be disturbed during construction. The customer signed the contract in July but provided a hard deadline of 12/31. SunGreenSystems delivered with a final sign off on 12/28, ahead of schedule.
SunGreen Systems
Solar-power boat expedition launches in Russia
The energy autonomous solar electric catamaran set off on its 5000km long journey across Russia. Following the launch from Saint Petersburg, the self-sufficient boat will make a series
of stops on its trip including 40 cities in 20 Russian regions. The catamaran boasts 9kW solar power system consisting of heterojunction semi- flexible solar modules, manufactured by Russian PV module manufacturer and solar projects developer Hevel Group. Design and assembly of 130 micron solar cells were performed
by Hevel’s own R&D center in Saint Petersburg which well-equipped laboratory is a small copy of the company’s 160MW PV module factory in Chuvashia republic. Besides supplying EPC services for utility-scale solar photovoltaic power plants Hevel Group develops variable engineering solutions for commercial transport and aviation, as well as for off-grid social and industrial infrastructure.
Hevel Solar |
    far ... even if we’re fully charged up.
ChargePoint eMotorwerks Schneider Electric EVgo OpConnect
a crowd of fellow show attendees. How hard could this be? First, I didn’t know which pump to choose. Granted, I had a
50% chance of getting it right, since there were only two, but I wondered why were there two? Why was one bigger and one smaller? Why did one have a yellow tag and the other a green tag? When I connected the charging port to the car, there was a green sliding button on it that said, “Okay”. Did that mean, "Okay you’re charging", “Okay you’re connected”, or just, “Hey, you're okay, and a good person for choosing clean energy!”?
       Sustainable taxi lets you pay by singing
Fortum Singalong Shuttle is an environmentally friendly taxi that only accepts singing as payment. The 100% emission-free rides are operated on electric cars. The sustainable rides will be introduced in Finland in early July. Fortum Singalong Shuttle combines rideshares with Carpool Karaoke, and is purely run
on electric cars. It is the world’s first taxi that you pay by singing. Singalong Shuttle is provided by clean- energy company Fortum, who wants to engage its customers and the society to join the change for a cleaner world. The company offers a wide range of clean energy solutions and encourages its customers to live a more sustainable life. Fortum is also actively developing sophisticated EV charging solutions. Fortum |

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