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Readers of this blog know that we are big fans of EVs, including plug-in hybrids like the Chevy Volt. We are especially drawn to the synergy between such vehicles and solar power systems - truly a match made in heaven. So we were particularly gratified to see the news accounts of Chevy's program to install solar-powered Volt charging stations at its dealerships.
The press release from GM lays out what should be clear to all:
"The Chevrolet Green Zone will provide our U.S. dealers with added flexibility when it comes to charging their vehicles, while also reinforcing GM's commitment to renewable energy projects," said Chris Perry, vice president, Global Chevrolet Marketing and Strategy.
American Chevrolet in Modesto, Calif., and Al Serra Auto Plaza in Grand Blanc, Mich., are the first U.S. dealerships to complete their solar charging capability by installing Green Zones on their property.
"The question isn't whether to install a solar canopy, it's where and how many," said Joe Serra, president of Serra Automotive. "It's a win for us because the electricity generated will help reduce operating costs, and it's a win for the environment since solar power helps reduce our carbon footprint."
Each canopy generates enough electricity for up to 4,500 charges per vehicle annually. The proof of concept for the Green Zone project is housed at the Detroit Hamtramck assembly plant, manufacturing home of the Volt.
The "Green Zone" program is part of Chevy's substantial investment in solar project developer Sunlogics, Inc. which will build the charging stations. Indeed, thanks to this partnership, Sunlogics announced that it is building a $30 million headquarters building outside of Detroit to manufacture the charging stations and will employ more than 200 workers at the facility. Surely welcome news for Detroit and the auto industry generally.
Now Chevy needs to go one step farther and partner with local solar companies around the country to help Volt owners install solar power systems on their homes. Such a partnership would provide jobs all across the country and would make owning a Volt an even more desirable purchase.
We are ready to help - hey Chevy, are you listening?
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