The highway of the future, “The Ray,” is being built right here in Georgia. A partnership including The Ray C. Anderson Foundation and Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia took the first turn down that road with the installation of Georgia’s first solar-powered PV4EV (photovoltaic for electric vehicle) charging station at the Visitor Information Center (VIC) in West Point.
The innovative charging station is powered by the SpotlightTM Solar LIFT. The electric vehicle (EV) charger is a level 3 “quick charge” station, capable of providing 80 percent + battery charge in less than 45 minutes for most EVs. It is the first in what is imagined to be a series of infrastructure upgrades that will make The Ray, a 16-mile section of I-85 in West Georgia, a model for the highway of the future.
Students from the Georgia Tech School of Architecture studied ways to create a sustainable highway. They researched a range of technologies including:
- solar panels built into highways
- asphalt that generates electricity as cars travel over
- air filtering plant walls to reduce highway emissions
“Georgia ranks 2nd in the nation for registered electric vehicles. The installation of the PV4EV is a progressive move to help promote more broad adoption of EV’s in Georgia,” said John Lanier, executive director and Ray Anderson’s grandson. “The charging station’s placement at the West Point VIC makes travel more convenient for electric vehicle drivers between West Georgia and Alabama.”
- The Ray, the 16-mile stretch of road between exits 2 and 18 in Troup County is named for Ray C. Anderson, founder of the global carpet tile manufacturer Interface, Inc. Anderson is remembered as a pioneering industrialist who had an environmental epiphany in 1994, at the age of 60, and challenged Interface to become the “first name in industrial ecology.”
- Anderson led his company on a journey coined as “Mission ZeroⓇ,” influencing other business and industry leaders that it was both the right and the smart thing to do.
- The Ray is envisioned as a way to change the way we think about our infrastructure in the future.
On October 14th, a dedication ceremony for the charging station took place at the West Point Visitor Information Center. A Kia Soul was plugged into and charged by the PV4EV charging station. Attendees included representatives from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Hannah Solar, LLC, Board of the Georgia Department of Transportation, Mayors of LaGrange and West Point.
“Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia is proud to be a leader when it comes to taking care of our environment and we are privileged to be at the forefront of the Mission Zero Corridor project to usher in the regenerative, restorative and sustainable highways of tomorrow,” said Randy Jackson, KMMG’s senior vice president of human resources and administration. “One of the pillars that KMMG’s community relations program is built on is the environment. This project fits right into our goals and has the potential to improve this region for decades to come.”
Partners: Ray C. Anderson Foundation, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG), Hannah Solar, LLC, Spotlight Solar, City of West Point, GA, LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Tech School of Architecture and the Georgia Conservancy.