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Charging With Gust-O: GE and Urban Green Energy Build World’s First Wind-Powered EV Charger

Last summer, GE opened one of the first solar carports for charging electric vehicles in Plainville, Connecticut. The idea has caught on. Solar-powered EV “pumps” have started popping up across North America, from Toronto to Google’s California headquarters, and new ones are being built in Europe. Filling stations powered by wind, however, remained elusive. Until now.<

GE has linked its fast DuraStation EV chargers, deployed in London during the Olympics to power a fleet of zero-emission cars, to a vertical wind turbine developed by New York’s Urban Green Energy. The result is the world’s first wind-powered EV charger. The system, called Sanya Skypump, can power up a Chevy Volt in four hours.

The Skypump rises just 15 feet and can stand virtually anywhere, including dense cityscapes. The innovative blades on the 4-kilowatt wind turbine do not spin horizontally, say, like propellers on airplanes, but rotate along the vertical axis inside a five-foot radius. It take operators just a couple of hours to assemble the turbine. Similar UGE turbines already power homes and streetlamps around the world.

GE and UGE installed the first Sanya Skypump outside Barcelona, Spain, but the partners will roll out more chargers later this year in the U.S. and Australia, at shopping malls, universities, and other busy locations.

GE Energy’s Charles Elazar said that the system is part of GE’s goal to offer drivers as well as commercial customers “a range of easy-to-use, flexible systems to help make electric vehicles a practical, everyday reality.”

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