New ultra-fast charging stations for electric vehicles have been unveiled recently in the Danish city of Fredericia. The stations are designed by COBE and offer to recharge the batteries of both vehicles and drivers.
In cooperation with and powered by E.ON Drive & Clever, COBE has designed a new type of charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) in Scandinavia. The project has won the Building of the Year 2020 Award.
The stations not only promise to recharge a vehicle in just 15 minutes but also offer drivers and passengers a welcome break and a chance to recharge their own mental batteries while the car is being powered up.
The new charging station is centrally located on the E20 motorway in the Danish city of Fredericia. The first of its kind, it is part of an upcoming network of 48 ultra-fast EV charging stations along Scandinavian highways.
In the future, electricity will replace fossil fuels in our vehicles. However, while it currently takes less than five minutes to fill up the tank, recharging an EV is a much more time-consuming process.
In our busy everyday lives, every minute counts. Hence, future charging stations should not only optimize the charging time but also offer a meaningful mental break for people to recharge their own batteries when they are on the move.
A mental break in a green oasis
COBE’s design, which won the infrastructure award of the 2018 Danish Building Awards for its groundbreaking architecture, revolves around a green rethink of the traditional gas station. The new ultra-fast charging stations, which are now being installed, will be a place where drivers can quickly and efficiently recharge the vehicle as well as their own mental batteries.
“Electric vehicles are the way of the future. With our design, we offer EV drivers a welcome break and an opportunity to recharge mentally in a green oasis. The energy and the technology are green, so we wanted the architecture, the materials and the concept to reflect that. Hence, we designed a charging station in sustainable materials placed in a clean, calm setting with trees and plants that offer people a dose of mindfulness on the highway,” says Dan Stubbergaard, architect and founder of COBE.
The charging stations consist of a series of structural “trees” designed with a tree crown that filters the light and offers shade and thus creates a green setting and a calming atmosphere that is quite different from a traditional gas station where lines of vehicles and gas fumes and the smell of exhaust are the norm.
Thanks to a modular design concept the stations are scalable, so a single “tree” can easily be turned into a “grove”, depending on the need. The stations are constructed in wood and concrete, topped by solar panels and surrounded by trees, grass and shrubs selected in cooperation with the Danish Society for Nature Conservation with the aim of enhancing biodiversity around the station.
A Zen feel
The first of the ultra-fast charging stations, which has already opened offers a relaxed nature experience with a capacity of recharging four EVs at once. The Fredericia charging station is constructed of 12 “trees” with a 400-m2 “crown” with a mix of open and closed roof panels. The goal is for both the new and the coming charging stations to offer users a pleasant, restful and Zen-like feel that may even, hopefully, make the roads safer.
In the longer term, ultra-fast charging stations can also help make it more attractive to invest in EVs and thus boost and promote the transition from fossil fuels to green, energy-efficient and CO2-neutral transportation both in Denmark and abroad.