Beam Global Ramping Up Rollout Of Its Off-Grid Solar-Powered EV Charging Infrastructure
Innovation often springs from solving a problem and realizing that an entirely new approach might be the best way forward. Thirteen years ago, Desmond Wheatley and his team were deploying grid-tied electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, some coupled with solar panels. When a City Council approached them to install stations across the city, they faced a major obstacle: the daunting cost of trenching and cable runs, exceeding $300,000.
Recognizing this recurring issue for potential customers, they pivoted, brainstorming a solution that eliminated the need for extensive trenching. This led to the birth of Beam Global, now a leader in sustainable products and technologies for EV charging, energy storage, security, and outdoor media.
This product became known as the off-grid solar-powered EV ARC™ system, which Beam Global says revolutionizes EV charging. Capable of generating and storing its own electricity, it concurrently powers up to 6 EV chargers. These turnkey solutions require no construction, electrical work, or utility connection. Moreover, immune to grid outages, the onboard battery storage ensures charging even during adverse weather or disasters, serving as vital electricity sources for first responders.
Evolved through multiple iterations, the EV ARC™ system is deployed across the United States in various locations, including high-profile clients like the US Army and the City of New York. With over 1,200 units installed, each supporting up to 6 chargers, Beam Global says it’s reshaping the landscape of EV infrastructure.
Earlier this year, Beam Global was granted a patent by the European Patent Office, European Patent No. 3377828, for the Company’s EV ARC™ product development, enabling configuration in a compact condition for shipping in a 20-foot shipping container (TEU) or on a flatbed, rail car, or the Company’s ARC Mobility™ proprietary transportation system. The patent was issued on March 8, 2023, in the European Patent Bulletin 23/10.
“Beam Global already has various patents covering our rapidly deployed EV ARC systems and our energy storage solutions in the US, China, India and the EU,” said Desmond Wheatley, Beam Global’s CEO. “Our ability to transform EV ARC into a compact shippable form-factor that can be easily shipped anywhere in the world in a container, is a significant differentiating advantage for us. I’m not aware of any other company that can deliver a rapidly deployed EV charging infrastructure product that requires no site work at its destination and no connection to the grid. Protecting this and all our other valuable IP in Asia and Europe is important particularly as we continue to consider international expansion opportunities.”
In China, a patent was granted by the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) and the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM) and in India, which cover the Company’s battery safety technology, with the patent title Thermal State of Charge Estimation of Phase Change Material (PCM) in a Battery Pack with a PCM Thermal Management System products.
The Chinese Patent Certificate for Patent No. ZL 2018 8 0026414.8 issued December 6, 2022, along with the Indian Patent Certificate for Patent No. 412569 issued November 25, 2022, are for Beam Global’s smart battery management system (BMS) that monitors thermal storage capacity of the phase change material and automatically adjusts the power output of the battery packs and cells as a function of the thermal storage capacity of the phase change material to provide a heat output within a predetermined safe temperature limit.
“Battery safety is our number one priority at Beam. We now have various patents covering our battery technology and innovations in the US, China, the European Union, France, Germany, and India,” said Wheatley. “Our ability to deliver superior safety with technology that can mitigate thermal runaway propagation is making batteries safer across the many modes of transportation and automation that are electrifying, creating a significant differentiating advantage for us. Protecting this and all our other valuable IP in China, India and Europe is important particularly as we continue to consider international expansion opportunities.”
Experiencing a staggering 500% year-on-year increase in product deliveries, Beam Global has expanded into Europe. Its recent acquisition of Amiga DOO Kraljevo, a European-based manufacturer of specialized structures and equipment, producing streetlights, communications, and energy infrastructure. Its manufacturing, engineering, and sales teams serve municipalities, states, and commercial customers in 16 nations. Beam Global believes that the acquisition of Amiga fast-tracks its growth into the European market. This market offers excellent opportunities for off-grid, zero construction, or electrical work products because:
- The EU has mandated a transition to zero emission vehicles by 2035.
- The EU is heavily focused on green and sustainable energy.
- The war in Ukraine has focused the EU on energy security and home-grown renewable sources.
- The historic aging of streets and infrastructure make it more complicated to deploy grid-tied EV charging solutions than is the case in much of the United States.
“Beam Global’s sustainable EV charging systems are changing the national debate on how to deploy robust, secure and 100% renewably powered infrastructure for an all-electric future. We join others in the mission to have 25% of the US EV charging infrastructure powered by locally generated, stored and delivered renewable energy to help work toward the zero-emissions future,” said Wheatley.
The advantages of Beam’s off-grid solar-powered chargers extend beyond quick installation, eliminating expensive trenching, and streamlining permitting processes. Priced around $70,000 fully installed, their value proposition hinges on averting the high costs of traditional construction and electrical work for grid-tied chargers.
With a 4.4 kW array on a tracking platform, delivering 25% higher yield than fixed tilt systems, and a storage capacity ranging from 22, 32, to 43 kWh. Beam Global says its setup caters to dispensing a daily charge equivalent to 256 driving miles. Tailored to EV charging habits, Beam’s approach ensures vehicles are continually charged, providing a full daily range replenishment (DRR) for multiple cars.
Beam says a lot of fleet vehicles drive less than 30 miles per day, and therefore the fleet business is a major part of their business. Large federal fleets often drive less than 20 miles per day. A shift in behavior from the mindset of driving a fossil vehicle until it is empty to an always-charging ‘top up as you go, when you can’ model, and especially now with modern electric vehicles with ranges of over 300 miles per day, will mean that most drivers rarely drive to very low state of charge. This solution particularly suits fleet businesses, aligning with their driving patterns. Beam’s solution accommodates over 6 vehicles daily per parking bay without grid connections or construction. It’s optimal for fleets with vehicles parked for extended periods, utilizing overnight charging facilitated by the energy storage component. For everyday users frequenting locations like cafes or supermarkets, Beam’s solution offers convenient and accessible charging options.
Another excellent application for this product lies in parking lots at theme parks and sports stadiums. Stadiums face significant electricity bill challenges due to demand charges. Adding grid-tied charging infrastructure in these spaces tends to escalate these charges. Beam’s solution presents an opportunity to sustainably introduce charging capacity to sports arenas that experience high demand only during events like matches or other major happenings. Unlike extensive grid-tied networks that remain underutilized on non-event days, Beam’s approach optimizes unit economics by catering specifically to peak demand periods.
The EV ARC™ system can also integrate with the grid, serving as a viable option in areas with extended periods of cloud cover or reduced sunlight. Additionally, it doesn’t compromise available parking space, as it’s designed to fit within a standard-sized parking spot. “Energy resiliency must be a key consideration in planning EV charging infrastructure. Fleet managers need access to charging during increasingly frequent grid outages, and Beam’s EV ARC solar-powered systems provide EV charging even during power failures,” said Wheatley. We are seeing increasing sales from entities that need EV charging faster than traditional construction projects allow and disaster preparedness at all times. EV ARC systems solve for both requirements.”
Images courtesy of Beam Global
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