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Renewable Innovations partners with GM to make rapid electric vehicle chargers

By Ashtyn Asay - | Feb 1, 2022
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This 3D rendering shows an electric vehicle charging station.
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A mobile power generator by Renewable Innovations.

Utah County-based Renewable Innovations has partnered with General Motors to create mobile power generators and place fast, mobile electric vehicle charging stations across the country.

GM will supply HYDROTEC fuel cell power cubes to Renewable Innovations, a company with offices in American Fork and Lindon, in order for the company to build mobile power generators capable of charging electric vehicles anywhere.

“GM will combine its fuel cell hardware and software with Renewable Innovations’ power integration and management systems to create a generator that can provide fast-charging capability for EVs without having to expand the grid or install permanent charging assets in places where there’s only a temporary need for power,” states a press release distributed by GM and Renewable Innovations.

According to Robert Mount, CEO and co-founder of Renewable Innovations, the company has been working with hydrogen fuel cells for the past eight years and is eager to continue that work.

“It’s very exciting what we’re doing,” Mount said. “The whole idea here is to be able to, in a modular, scalable footprint, … generate clean renewable power to do a lot of great and wonderful things.”

In addition to mobile power generators, Renewable Innovations and GM have worked together to create the EMPOWER rapid charger, a charging device intended to be used at retail fuel stations that don’t require extensive investment in infrastructure upgrades for installation.

These rapid chargers are powered by eight of GM’s HYDROTEC power cubes, which consume hydrogen from internal tanks and can charge up to four vehicles at once with a target full-charge time of 20 minutes. Each rapid charger can charge up to 100 vehicles before needing to be refilled with hydrogen.

“Range anxiety is if I’m low, just think of being low on gas, where can I stop to refill this battery? And although the infrastructure at this point is growing, the infrastructure is limited, meaning that the chargers that are being placed are slow chargers” Mount said. “Our goal is 20 minutes.”

According to Mount, the goal for the rapid chargers is to be able to charge electric vehicles in the amount of time that it would take the driver to make a pit stop at a gas station, so that whether you’re on a road trip or a trip to the store you won’t have to wait too long.

“EMPOWER rapid chargers can be installed at existing fuel stations or along corridors frequented by travelers only part of the year, such as national parks or vacation destinations,” according to the press release.

Much like the rest of the world, Mount said, Renewable Innovations is currently facing supply chain shortages, so it is currently unknown when the first of these EMPOWER rapid chargers will be placed. However, Renewable Innovations plans to have 500 rapid chargers across the country by the end of 2025.

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