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EV owners in San Francisco can now recharge their cars off the grid with solar energy

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As of today, electric vehicle owners in San Francisco can revitalize their car's battery at any of three off-the-grid charging stations powered entirely by solar energy. For free. The Level 2 charging stations are the work of a company called Envision Solar; San Francisco's Department of the Environment and Charge Across Town also helped bring the three Electric Vehicle Autonomous Renewable Chargers, each with a value of $45,000, to the city. They generate 3.3 kilowatts of electricity, according to CNET, which falls on the lower end of that Level 2 classification — though it still beats plugging into a 120V outlet at home. The attached lithium ion battery pack stores 22.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity.

The self-contained charging stations will remain in San Francisco through the rest of 2015, though they'll be changing venues every few months. "The mobile solar units will collect data on frequency and duration of use," Envision Solar said in a press release, and after those numbers get crunched, they'll permanently be donated to the locations that saw the most charging.

"This program allows the City of San Francisco to demonstrate that electric vehicles can charge from 100-percent renewable sources and with no impact to grid operations, making better use of our energy supply," said San Francisco's Mayor Edwin Lee at a press conference. True enough, the main appeal here is these things don't have to plug into the grid and use electricity sourced from traditional power plants.