transportation technology is forever evolving, with electric cars set to become the vehicles of the future. the team at ennead lab—the research dep of new york-based ennead architects—realize that developing new cars not only affects how we drive, but also filters down to change the ways in which we drive, store, and power vehicles. as electro mobility continues to grow, the conventional gas station becomes slowly redundant, opening up new opportunities to rethink and redevelop roadside architecture. when asked to develop a concept for an electric car charging station for a new urban development in shanghai, ennead lab drew up a plan for a ‘charging tower,’ an urban roadside beacon for electric cars. 

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whilst refilling a car at a gas station requires just a couple of minutes, electric cars need more time to recharge their batteries. although standard charge methods require around five hours to stock up the battery with 100 miles of charge, a ‘super charge’ mode has already been developed, utilizing both alternating and direct currents to provide an electric car with the same amount of charge in just 25 minutes. yet whether it be a short power-up or a longer charge, electric vehicles all pose the question: where can drivers put their cars whilst they are charging? and that’s exactly what ennead lab sets out to solve. 

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to efficiently use a small land space in an urban, pedestrian area whilst maximizing the number of cars that are able to use a standard charging system, the team at ennead lab planned out the ‘charging tower’ concept. the plan combines existing charging technologies with stack-parking concepts, housing the multi-story charging port within a reflective, perforated metal canopy.

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