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Concept design for a charging station of the future

in partnership with:

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Project

e-mobility

Professor

Jenz GroĂ&#x;hans

Semester

Winter term 2011|2012

Students

Sascha Praet Jacobus North Joana Francener Johannes Bier Luis Felipe Garcia Pedro Jun Branco


About the project. Fraunhofer Institut and Langmatz Company in cooperation with five German design schools have launched a competition “Charging Station of the Future”, new ideas/concepts for charging electric vehicles in the urban space. Believing mobility will change in the next years the European Union says by 2050 there will be only electric vehicles in cities. In order to make it become true many improvements have to be done in the technological sense as well as it has to integrate to the existing and future city infrastructure. The competition’s Jury is composed by the Design Schools, Langmatz GmbH and Fraunhofer IAO. Its start was in mid October, when all participants were invited to learn about the project proposed and e-mobility in general. Mid-presentation in the end of November was to assist and reflect on the work done so far. The final presentation will happen in the beginning of February, afterwards the winners of each category will earn 5000 euros as price in Amsterdam, where they will present their prototypes. We as students from the Köln International School of Design have joined in the contest to propose new ways of charging e-vehicles in the urban environment.


Brainstorm

On the first meetings of the e-mobility project it was explained what is it about, in order to get to know the group some exercises were done in order to enhance our creativity and broaden our thinking. First of all a collective brainstorm was done about ideas of what it’s e-mobility, what does it remind, which pre-ideas come to our minds when thinking about e-vehicles. We have also worked on the meaning and visualization of random words like “eating”, “waiting”, “digesting” etc. Combining them and then looking for pictures that would translate ideas related to it.

Broad research & conceptualization

Phase by phase.

After the kick off meeting with the responsible partners of the project, started the broad individual research and conceptualization. Each person (total 16 people) brought ten concepts for e-mobility, we looked, reflected and discussed each of them. After reflecting on the concepts we clustered them in seven groups which touched different matters: energy sharing and time, hidden, architecture and infrastructure of the city, services in the urban environment, inductive charging, visible energy.


Architecture & infrastructure

Divided in groups we started a more focused research on these points and slowly the conceptualization of some ideas. A first overview was taken at the city of Cologne as city scenario to focus on. Pictures were taken and the ciy infrastructure was analysed, stressing especially its transport and traffic possibilities. First of all was noticed that the city itself has many meanings of transportation such as the train (bahn) system, a very complete and connected network. Secondly the river Rhein also brings to the city specific characteristic such as many bridges which connect both sides of the town and the many boat transport services. We have also observed and mapped out the parking situation in Cologne, its spots in the city centre’s streets as well as the park houses which are not only placed in the inner part of the city but also a the suburban area, close to the railway stations. Last but not least, we have also been to the already existing charging spots in the city of Cologne, to have an idea of how do they work now a days. As we have already expected, the charging stations look like gas stations and they take very long to the charge a battery. Having in consideration the European Union intensions of having only electric cars by the year 2050.


Architecture & infrastructure

Our main idea was to observe the already existing potential in the urban space in order to inspire us to adapt future charging possibilities to it without severe changes in its arcquitecture and structure. The first analysis of our results led us to the ideation of three concepts. First one was integrating car charge in the already existing railway transport system, the drivers would be able to still move inside the city, since they would be inside of special charging wagons. The second idea consisted of proposing that people would charge their cars in privet parking places on the streets, in front of residences and they would charge their cars with the already existing energy network which supplies the houses, having the house owner as somebody who would also participate from this process. Since this idea involved not only business interest, but common people involvement too, we felt the need of conducting some (10) interviews with people passing by at Rudolfplatz on the 24th October 2011. We have asked their opinion on the subject from both sides, if they would charge their cars from a home and if they would be interested in selling their energy too. The responses were all positive, most of them raising


Architecture & infrastructure

concerns about the transparency of the system. The idea related to charging integrated to business and service enterprises such as supermarkets, shopping malls or night clubs. The service provider would offer its service within the charging possibility. The developed ideas were shown in the bigger group with all the other ideas. This time the meeting called for reflection, taking a more critical look over them and narrowing them to what we thought would be most relevant to work on. The chosen concept was the residential charge.


Refinement & Detailing

The concept drifted in the last phase of the project from product focused to a tricky development of a network based service. The network was named “We Charge” and its goal is connecting people’s electric energy in an online platform. People fill in their profile at the We Charge online community and offer their private electric power to another e-vehicle owner, enabling them to park and charge their batteries. We Charge contemplates not only e-vehicle owners, but anyone willing to share their electric energy. (velhinha profile)The profile at the online community displays people’s personal picture, charging spot’s location and how much will they charge, they can also not charge anything, it is up to the customer’s wish. There is also the possibility of adding a wishlist in which people can add favours or goods they would rather accept instead of money. (wishlist pic) That means also a very convenient opportunity for enterprises wishing to increment their business. Through the online network is also possible to reserve the charging spot when the owner of the venue is not there, that is possible because the web integrated product stores the e-vehicle’s information and updates it to the essential managing device which


Refinement & Detailing

is the bridge between the domestic energy and the outdoors environment, authorizing the energy flow when identifying the vehicle that has reserved that place. The actual charging devices are peripheral, versatile products that can be installed anywhere, the urban obstacles are an opportunity for creative solutions. It is a network build by people who are triggered to build their environment together. The concept was presented on the last meeting with Langmat and Fraunhofer Institute on February 1st 2012, together with all the other competing schools and the We Charge concept won first place in the second category: innovation in recharging electric vehicles in urban areas. The final concept was presented in a video at the Intertraffic exhibition in Amsterdam in March.


Online Community The WeCharge online community is for everyone willing to share electric energy. From e-vehicle enthusiasts to local business owners, anyone can have an online profile with personal info, location, owned vehicles and even what you want in exchange for your energy*.

* Energy can be sold or traded for virtually anything. You can define a price for each kWh, or ask for favors in exchange of energy (e.g. changing a light bulb or taking out the trash). A third and more commercial way is to offer special deals to add value at your business (e.g. “cut your hair here and get one full charge for free!�).

Managing Device This is the only essencial device. It connects your charging device with the online platform so that it knows who’s charging at your place and when everytime someone reserves your charger online. It keeps track of how much energy flow there is, how much money is being saved and so on.


Potential Network The main potential of WeCharge is to offer people a simple but solid platform in which the users can by themselves find new ways of charging e-vehicles in urban areas, modifying city structure in creative ways.

Charging|Recognition This versatile charger can potentially be installed in infinite ways It unlocks the energy flow automatically after recognizing the vehicle connected to it. Another potential that WeCharge offers is that people can also use third-party chargers or even customized chargers to attend various urban obstacles.


1. 1. Prof. Jenz Großhans, Judith Dörrenbächer, Binglu Gu, and representative students from each presenting group at Fraunhofer IAO, Stuttgart. 2. WeCharge team receiving a prize trophy in the Intertraffic Amsterdam 2012. 3. WeCharge team receiving the prize at Fraunhofer IAO, Stuttgart.

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Click on the video thumbnail to watch the animation presented at the Intertraffic Amsterdam 2012.


Project

e-mobility

Professor

Jenz GroĂ&#x;hans

Semester

Winter term 2011|2012

Students

Sascha Praet Jacobus North Joana Francener Johannes Bier Luis Felipe Garcia Pedro Jun Branco


KISD 2012

WeCharge Documentation  

Full Documentation of the e-Mobility project developed at KISD in 2011 and 2012. A project presented at the Intertraffic Amsterdam 2012 and...

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