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Time to Recharge: Wind-Powered EV Charger Gets Drivers Amped Up

On an eerily balmy first day of winter last December, when the temperature hit record 71 degrees Fahrenheit in New York City, Tim Grob steered his black electric Tesla S sedan into the parking lot of Brooklyn’s new Whole Foods supermarket. He parked next to a towering green Sanya Skypump and plugged in.

The “skypump” combines a vertical wind turbine developed by Urban Green Energy (UGE) with GE’s powerful WattStation EV charger. The 4-kilowatt wind turbine supplies the charging station with electricity anyplace the wind blows. “They should be everywhere,” Grob says. “It just makes sense. Eventually they will be.”

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GE’s WattStation is using electricity generated by UGE’s 4-kilowatt vertical wind turbine.

Climate change has been on the minds of many local shoppers. Just a year ago, parts of New York City, including the nearby Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.

There are two Skypumps at the Brooklyn Whole Foods Market store. UGE has also installed 19 streetlights using solar and wind power in the parking lot, and several carports covered with solar panels. Ryan Gilchrist, assistant vice president of business development at UGE, said that his company was “seeing an increasing number of customers come to us looking for energy reliability solutions.”

Whole Foods said in a statement that the Brooklyn store was “about 60 percent more energy efficient than any other grocery store in the United States. We’re going to be saving about 2.5 million kilowatt-hours a year, which is equivalent to taking about 360 cars off the road annually,” the company said.

“We’ve received extremely positive feedback from Whole Foods about the units,” says UGE’s senior engineer Jan Gromadzki. “We are looking forward to many more successful installations with them.”

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Shoppers arrived in T-shirts on an unseasonably balmy first winter day to Brooklyn’s new Whole Foods store.

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The WattStation’s sleek features come from industrial designer Yves Behar.

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