We have had some new developments over the last few weeks that I want to share with everyone following our project.
- The draft cooperative grant agreement was sent to the City of Reedley and City of Mendota for review by Fresno County Transportation Authority on Friday of last week. Both City Managers are currently reviewing the document and our goal is to have the agreement signed and approved to release the funding by April 12 or shortly thereafter.
- We are meeting next week with staff from Mazzei Flying Service and Reedley College to go over the options for the aircraft and charger locations prior to finalizing the order for the aircraft after the grant agreement is signed on April 12. The charger locations are very important since each charger will be customized by Pipistrel to operate on the available voltage and amperage capacity at each hangar location on the respective airports. Once the chargers are set up at the factory, they can’t be changed in the field to operate off different voltage, so we must get this right the first time. Three of the four airports have 240 volt, 3- phase power available, and one has 240 volt single phase. We have started to explore the possibility of using off-grid solar powered electric vehicle charging stations like this unit made by Envision Solar of San Diego called an EV ARC to provide power for the Alpha Electros as we expand the network of chargers across the Valley in the future (Phase II).
The solar panel tracks the sun and battery storage provides sufficient power to charge vehicles at night or during stormy weather. The ARCs are portable (using a special truck and trailer arrangement seen in the background) and require no permitting or site preparation for installation. An upgraded version of the ARC could be an ideal solution for adding electric aircraft charging infrastructure at small airports all over the region. So far, Envision Solar has been supportive of the idea and we are exploring how these chargers could support both electric aircraft, cars, and even trucks from the same unit. A zero-emission, zero-carbon solution for multiple modes of transportation at airports! How cool would that be!!
Thanks for following our progress! More updates as they come along so stay tuned.