General Motors (GM) has introduced a way to turn parking spots into solar charging stations for electric vehicles: a Tracking Solar Tree that moves with the sun to better collect the energizing rays it gives off.
"We are constantly looking for places where we can add a renewable focus," explained GM rep Rob Threlkeld.
"This solar tree is an ideal addition because not only does it provide a space to charge our electric vehicles, but it’s another step in our journey toward cleaner energy use."
Envision Solar built the Tracking Solar Tree in America for GM. It boasts a multiple axis design that allows the whole canopy to track and shift to where the sun moves so it can absorb the most energy.
GM claims that it will increase renewable energy production by approximatelyt 25 percent. However, the public will have to wait and see how the Tracking Solar Tree really performs because GM made some hefty promises in the past with the Volt and many automobile analysts criticized GM for not fully delivering on several years of hype.
The innovative structure looks like something out of a science fiction novel and is capable of generating up to 30,000 kilowatt hours a year, or six electric vehicles per day. The solar tree supports various types of charging modules, and supposedly fits easily in existing structures or newly built ones. Still, it seems unlikely that these canopies will actually be deployed in current parking garages any time soon since most people still drive strictly fuel powered vehicles.
All in all, the Tracking Solar Tree is an interesting concept with obvious potential, but the biggest thing holding it back is that the structure appears to be something that would fit best in a "neighborhood of the future" that hasn't been built yet. Electric vehicles need to become the norm, rather than the exception, if the Tracking Solar Tree is to truly make a difference in the lives of automobile owners.