By now most of you will be familiar with the humble charge-point. Dotted around various cities and towns, these decidedly objective pole-shaped devices exist on the basis of ‘need’ – EV owners need quick and painless access to electrical charge and these charge-points, for the most part, do a satisfactory job.
German company EIGHT GmbH, however, has made a charging station that is more about ‘want’.
What is Point.One?
In short, a solar charging station like you’ve never seen before. The earliest petrol stations were symbols of a new oil-based era of mobility; EIGHT are attempting to recreate that for e-mobility.
Designed under the guidance of architects from the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (who earnt universal praise for their work on Masdar City), the chief objectives for the project are to “enable sustainable and emission-free e-mobility and to enthuse people for e-mobility”. Integrated into a country’s electric grid, the station uses highly efficient reprocessed solar panels to harvest energy from the sun. When an electric car is connected to the station its batteries are charged with the electricity generated from the Sun, but when the ‘forecourt’ is empty, the electricity generated is fed back into the grid. Equally, when there is little or no sunshine, charge generated by the station is supplemented as needed by power from the grid. Commendable, certainly, without being remarkable.
Where Point.One distinguishes itself is undoubtedly in its design. Consisting of solar panels sprawled above a metal lattice, the station is inspired by natural forms. The parametric design approach also allows the finished product to be tailored, as EIGHT have intended, to fit with a company’s corporate design philosophy, or even the topography of station’s plot. Whether it be the entrance of a hotel or a car park, this customizability adds an extra dimension to an already impressive product. Whilst hardly cheap, EIGHT hope that Point.One will be an attractive proposition to firms that want to show their commitment to a sustainable future.
Is real-time solar charging realistic?
EIGHT reckon that a station of similar size to the one shown here would provide around 40,000km of pure, solar-generated charge a year in climate comparable to Germany’s. Alone that’s not a huge figure, given that most cars cover over 10,000km a year but remember, however, that the solar charge is enhanced by electricity from the grid. It also stands to reason that a station twice the size of this one could potentially generate 80,000km worth of charge, or 50,000 miles. Just imagine an entire car park blanketed by sweeping plateau of solar panels. Quite a thought.
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