Electrify America, the electric vehicle charging company that is a subsidiary of Volkswagen, announced plans to install new “human-centric” charging stations in several cities in California and New York, complete with shade sails and a lounge-like waiting area. The company is also launching a slimmer, redesigned electric vehicle charger that aims to improve the customer experience.
The new multi-charge stations will be installed in multiple cities including Santa Barbara, San Francisco, San Diego and Beverly Hills, as well as the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City in 2022 and 2023.
Charging an electric car is not as easy as filling up a petrol tank. Charging times may vary depending on vehicle type and power source. Battery experts claim charging times will eventually shrink to around 10 minutes, but not for years to come.
In the meantime, Electrify America wants to make charging as convenient and seamless as possible. The company’s new stations are organized around comfort, safety and convenience, with a reference to the time it takes to charge an electric vehicle. Electrify America says the goal is to create “a more welcoming transition from the traditional gas station to the EV lifestyle.”
“These new designs will help improve the charging experience for our customers by building on the foundation of our ultra-fast and reliable coast-to-coast network,” said Giovanni Palazzo, president and CEO of Electrify America, in a statement.
The most notable change for Electrify America’s current design is the inclusion of awnings with solar panels that protect customers from the sun and inclement weather while providing power to run the station. The company says it is currently in the process of adding solar awnings to 400-500 individual chargers at 100 charging stations across the country. It already has solar roofs on its flagship Charging stations in Baker and Santa Clara, California.
The customer lounges at the newly designed charging stations will have special event areas. On-site cameras and additional lighting help provide a sense of security for EV owners charging at night. And those stations being built near shopping areas may offer curbside valet parking and delivery options, says Electrify America.
The company has also started rolling out a redesigned EV charger with a slimmer profile and newly simplified controls. The ultra-fast chargers, with up to 150 and 350 kilowatts of charging power, are nearly 8 feet tall and have recessed screens to reduce glare from sunlight.
Finally, Electrify America announced it will deploy on-site battery storage systems at 150 chargers across the country to manage grid energy loads and capture excess solar energy where possible. “The momentum that brings us closer to an electric transportation system is accelerating as consumers find more choices in electric vehicle choices from virtually any manufacturer,” Palazzo said.
The charging experience in the US is extremely fragmented, especially for people who don’t own a Tesla. While Tesla’s Supercharger network has been praised for its seamless user experience and fast charging capability, the opposite seems to be true for pretty much everyone else. There are approximately 41,000 public charging stations with more than 100,000 outlets in the United States.
The Biden administration recently announced a five-year, $5 billion plan to shore up the country’s patchy electric vehicle charging network, while tapping into funds approved under the plan the bipartisan infrastructure law signed last year.
Urban policy and electrification experts have said that money approved for a nationwide network of EV chargers would have a measurable impact on Americans’ car-buying decisions. A more reliable charging network will likely help accelerate EV sales in the US over the next decade.
Other companies are trying to build more lounge-style electric vehicle chargers, but progress is slow. 2018, Tesla filed a permit with the City of Santa Monica for a “Tesla restaurant and a supercharger station”, possible based on Elon Musk dream Build a 1950s themed charging station complete with rockabilly music and roller skates.
https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/24/22994302/vw-volkswagen-electrify-america-ev-charging-station-design-ca-ny VW’s Electrify America introduces new human-centric electric vehicle charging stations