July 2, 2022

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Racer and hot rodder creates charging solution for electric cars

A former racing driver and hot rodder has turned his attention to electric-car charging.

Jim Bardia currently owns an MG Metro 6R4 Group B rally car and a nitrous-boosted V-8 ambulance he uses to deliver stuffed animals to children’s hospitals. But his biggest project is Change Wind Corporation, which is marketing a unique EV charging solution called the Wind & Solar Tower.

As the name says, the 82-foot tower harnesses both wind and solar energy to charge electric cars. It consists of a six-helical-blade wind generator with a self-cleaning solar panel on top, all in a two-square-meter footprint. It can also be coupled with a 1,000-kwh energy storage array.

Change Wind  -  Wind and Solar tower, for charging/grid buffering

Change Wind – Wind and Solar tower, for charging/grid buffering

The solar and wind sources combined generate up to 52.5 kw, with a total annual output of 169,000 kwh, according to Change Wind Corporation. That’s enough to give 8,455 EVs per year a 20-kwh road-trip top-off, the company claims. Using the onsite battery storage, up to six vehicles can charge at a time.

Change Wind Corporation also claims its design can generate power with just 5-mph winds, versus a 26-mph minimum for commonly used propellor/pinwheels designs. The company also claims its design doesn’t produce as much noise as conventional wind turbines, has lower maintenance needs, and won’t kill birds.

Bardia started working on the design in 2010, and it Change Wind Corporation first attempted a commercial launch not long after. The company appears to have run into problems—including being denied a trademark registration because the shape wasn’t considered distinctive enough.

Change Wind  -  Wind and Solar tower, for charging/grid buffering

Change Wind – Wind and Solar tower, for charging/grid buffering

The company built two complete towers in Pennsylvania and tested them for five years, but has since taken them down for design analysis. The company claims they held up through strong storms.

At this point, the Wind & Solar Tower isn’t available as the company is pursuing funding. It won’t be cheap, though, so it’s not a solution for homeowners. The company says it will cost $484,000 to install before an applicable investment tax credit, or $376,660 after the credit. The company also pointed out that it costs $80,867 per DC fast charging cord, but that also means each cord will have to do a lot of business to pay off that investment.

If successful, the Wind & Solar Tower could help grow grid-independent charging infrastructure. This, and other efforts like Electrify America’s solar-powered charging stations, ensure cars are charged with renewable energy, while also reducing grid demand.

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