- Electrify America has unveiled designs for what it calls “the charging station of the future, today.”
- Flagship stations will have amenities like waiting lounges, valet parking and coffee.
- It also updates the stations with features like solar canopies that capture energy for charging.
Recharging an electric car takes much longer than a five-minute fill-up. So it stands to reason that you’d want charging stations to be a bit more welcoming and comfortable than your average seedy gas station.
Electrify America, the Volkswagen-owned charging company, plans to make the charging experience a bit more comfortable by upgrading some of its locations with amenities like customer lounges, event spaces, and cafes. The company will showcase the new “human-centered” design direction in a handful of flagship locations in US cities in 2022 and 2023.
Two flagship sites are already operational in California. New installations with up to 20 DC fast chargers are planned for New York, San Diego, Beverly Hills and San Francisco, among others.
Some of the new locations will be equipped with solar canopies, which will protect cars and customers from the elements and also capture energy that can be used for charging. Electrify America says it’s adding the canopies to 100 stations.
The company is also deploying security cameras and supplemental lighting to make stations, which typically have no attendants and can be dark and isolated, a little safer. It introduces next-gen charging hardware with a brighter screen and a smaller footprint.
Electrify America has released design renders for some locations, but says the layouts aren’t set in stone yet. Some locations near malls, including one planned for Beverly Hills, may offer valet parking and curbside pickup.
He envisions the San Francisco flagship to be housed in an old warehouse and have a glass lounge with televisions. The Santa Barbara location might have a patio with benches. Other designs include an outdoor café and a waiting room with espresso machines.
Other charging companies are also thinking of ways to make connecting more convenient and enjoyable. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more to charge an electric car battery at a fast-charging station, so why not give people something to do while they wait?
A Location of the Tesla Supercharger between Los Angeles and San Francisco has a waiting room with a café, and the company has floated the idea of installing restaurants using charging stations. Audi operates a small station with a lounge in Germany, while Porsche plans to roll out “premium charging stations” in Europe, the company announced at its annual meeting this month.