Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainabili Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainability, green tech, AI, and EU policy. With a background in the humanities, she has a soft spot for social impact-enabling technologies.
Charging your EV on the go comes with a big disadvantage: you’re gonna have to wait a while. But waiting wouldn’t be such a hassle if you could do so in comfort and — why not? — have a coffee and do some shopping.
On Wednesday, Electrify America announced a new design vision for some of its public charging stations, aiming to make charging as comfortable and seamless as possible.
The redesigned stations will feature customer lounges, electric vehicle showcase areas, and dedicated events spaces. They will also come with overhead solar canopies that have a dual effect: offering protection from the sun and inclement weather, and supplying power for the station’s operations.
A number of them will be installed at selected locations with nearby shopping and dining areas. In these cases, there will be the option of valet charging and curbside deliveries. Some of the stations will also come with up to 20 ultra-fast DC chargers.
Throughout 2022 and 2023, the company will install these flagship charging facilities in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, San Diego, Beverly Hills, and New York.
And, thankfully, it’s not only Electrify America that has bet on lounge-style services.
In December 2021, Audi installed its first pilot charging hub in Nuremberg, Germany, dedicated to its e-tron EVs. It features six reservable fast-charging points with up to 320 kW of charging power.
On top of the chargers sits a 200m2 barrier-free lounge, where customers can work or relax. Between 10AM and 7PM, an employee attends to visitors’ wishes.
A month after Audi’s announcement, Shell opened its first EV hub in Fulham, London, replacing the existing fuel station with nine ultra-rapid 175kW charge points.
Apart from a comfortable seating area, the hub features a Costa Coffee store and a Little Waitrose convenience store, so that customers can grab a cup of coffee or a snack, and even do their grocery shopping.
These three EV hubs show exactly what charging stations should look like. The possibility to wait comfortably while combining other practical or leisure activities is a necessary step towards improving charging experience.
The transition to electric vehicles is most of all a shift in lifestyle and the accompanying infrastructure needs to find ways to facilitate it.
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