Rapid eCharger (DC)

Budapest, Hungary 2013-2015

Folded sheet metal, glass interface

580 x 680 x 1945. Equipped AC, ChAdeMo and CCS chargers.
Floor installed SMS based charge activation
Web based monitoring and access for operators Installation: floor- installed, fix cables

EV chargers are relatively new objects in the urban landscape, and as such, they don’t have an archetype. This was an interesting design challenge for the team. From the users' aspect, an EV charging station might be perceived as an alternative for a fuel dispenser. For electrical engineers or EV-enthusiasts, it's rather a purely functional electrical cabinet. But is also functions as an urban element: a three-dimensional sign that indicates a place where one can charge their electric vehicle.

Designing for this multiple-layer physical and psychological phenomenon was our main motivation. Inspiration came from all the related fields. Since we had to face really strict form-giving requirements regarding the sheet metal enclosure parts, we looked at the industrial designs of the objects born in the ethos of simplicity.

We approached the design problem with an integrated perspective:  the physical and digital interface, as well as the enclosure, was treated as a complex design challenge. Our toolkit was limited by technological requirements, environmental factors and usage specialties. The outcome had to be vandal-proof (fit IK 10 standards) and weather proof (IP 54) using the production technologies available at the manufacturer.

The physical interface is encompassed by a large glass panel. This black, shiny panel is the most recognizable and distinctive part of the charger. All visual interaction is concentrated here. The top LED stripes, recognizable from a distance, show if the charger is available. The screen, where the user can set up their charge, is located in a height easily visible and accessible for wheelchair users as well. Physical interaction is carried out through pushbuttons in order to provide easy operation in extreme weather conditions when the screen is wet or the users wear gloves.

Operation flow and the graphic user interface is optimized for usage with these pushbuttons: workflow is almost linear with few branches and navigation options. The chargers come with universal sockets, compatible with most electric vehicles. After an RFID identification, the interface leads the user through the charging process. Two vehicles can be charged in the same time.