Recognizing that contemporary developments in transportation technology will change how we drive, store, and power vehicles, what does this mean for the future of roadside architecture? What opportunities do these new technologies represent for design? What is the gas station of the future? And ultimately, can we re-think the relationship between city and car? In response to these questions, and a clients desire to rethink a gas station site, Ennead Lab
has developed a concept for an electric car charging tower in Shanghai.
Ennead Labs Charging Tower is an urban roadside beacon for electric cars. Unlike filling up a car at a gas station, charging an electric car takes a larger investment of time from the driver. Currently, there are two options for charging an electric vehicle: a super charge or a standard charge. A super charge utilizes both alternating and direct current simultaneously to provide a vehicle with over one hundred miles of charge in only twenty-five minutes. Such a system is best used by drivers who are still on their way to their destination or need the extra miles to get home. The standard charge method takes up to five hours to achieve the same level of charge. While most electric car owners charge their vehicle at night while at home, often drivers need a re-charge while out in the city.
Ennead Labs Car Charging Tower prototype envisions these stations as integral components of new urban developments, helping answer the question: what do drivers do while their car is charging? Our answer is simple: they should enjoy the city around them.
In order to accommodate both a small, urban, pedestrian-friendly site and to maximize the number of cars simultaneously utilizing a standard charging system, we combined existing charger technologies with existing stack-parking technologies to create a Charging Tower. At the ground level, super charge stations are housed beneath a light-weight canopy. The parking towers above are clad in a reflective, perforated metal, recalling the chrome-filled aesthetic history of the automobile and creating a beacon for those searching for parking and car charging.