In a clear sign that Direct Current (DC) power systems are gaining widespread acceptance, General Motors has announced plans to produce an electric vehicle that accepts both AC and DC input for charging. According to an article posted on The New York Times web site, the electric-only Chevrolet Spark will be GM’s second EV product, following the success of the Chevy Volt.
The car will come with a standard AC charge port, but will also have a DC port. The difference does more than just add flexibility to the car’s charging options. AC charging is typically done using 110 or 220 volt systems, such as those found in a home. Those deliver 1 to 5 kilowatts of power, meaning it takes hours to charge the car’s batteries. A DC vehicle charger, such as those found in Nextek-designed microgrids, can deliver 50 kilowatts, which will bring the Spark to 80 percent charge in just 20 minutes. The charging speed will be important to the Spark, since it will not have a gasoline engine backup like the Volt.
The Spark EV will be introduced this summer in California and Oregon. Sticker price is expected to be less than $25,000 after tax incentives.
The STAR (Stationary or Transportable Available Resource) Trailer is a portable solar panel and charging station that provides electrical power and battery packs to areas of the world where grid power remains unavailable. For example, several of the units are in use in Haiti.
The tree ornaments were handmade by Zoo staff and volunteers, made primarily from discarded plastic bottles. The tree also includes 1,000 LED lights that are powered by the STAR Trailer. The “Green” tree is part of the Detroit Zoological Society’s Green Initiatives. The society has developed a plan called the Greenprint, a comprehensive strategic guides to operations and which refines and improves facilities and daily practices, develop new policies and programs and improves green literacy in the community.
For more information regarding the Detroit Zoo’s Green Initiatives, visit http://www.detroitzoo.org/about/greenprint.
A profound phrase from Detroit native Eminem during the Chrysler ad in the 3rd quarter of the Super Bowl. It had the country talking and why not? As the voice over so poignantly noted, Detroit is “a town that’s been to hell and back.” I’m sure many outside the City were sure we’d been to hell and had no idea that we were staging any kind of comeback. But Detroit has historically been a city of innovators, tinkerers and entrepreneurs. When it’s denizens walk through fire they come through stronger than before, with new ideas and renewed hope. The same talent that put the world on wheels has found new industries to foster. On a quiet block in TechTown, nestled between the Detroit Institute of Arts, Wayne State University and Henry Ford Health Systems, Nextek Power Systems is developing energy products that will turn the old “Edison vs. Westinghouse” argument on its ear. We are a part of a new world economy that knows that electric hybrid vehicles, renewable energy and power efficiency are the future and Detroit will rise out of the ashes and show the world that “imported from Detroit” isn’t just about automobiles.