scorecardVW's electric charging firm unveiled 'the charging station of the future' with solar panels, coffee bars, and lounges
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VW's electric charging firm unveiled 'the charging station of the future' with solar panels, coffee bars, and lounges

Tim Levin   

VW's electric charging firm unveiled 'the charging station of the future' with solar panels, coffee bars, and lounges
LifeThelife2 min read
  • Electrify America unveiled designs for what it calls "the charging station of the future, today."
  • The flagship stations will have amenities like waiting lounges, valet service, and coffee.

Charging an electric car takes significantly more time than a five-minute gasoline fill-up. So it stands to reason that you'd want charging stations to be a bit more welcoming and comfortable than your average, dingy gas station.

Electrify America, the charging company owned by Volkswagen, plans to make the charging experience a bit cushier by upgrading some of its locations with amenities like customer lounges, event spaces, and coffee bars. The firm will showcase the new "human-centered" design direction at a handful of flagship locations going up in US cities in 2022 and 2023.

Two flagship locations are already up and running in California. New facilities with as many as 20 DC fast chargers are planned for New York City, San Diego, Beverly Hills, and San Francisco, among other locations.

Some of the new locations will get solar awnings, which will protect cars and customers from the elements and also capture energy that can be used for charging. Electrify America says it's in the process of adding the canopies to 100 stations.

The company is also rolling out security cameras and additional lighting to make stations, which generally don't have attendants and can be dark and isolated, a bit safer. It's introducing next-generation charging hardware with a brighter screen and a smaller footprint.

Electrify America released design renderings for some locations, but says that the layouts are not set in stone yet. Some locations near shopping centers, including one planned for Beverly Hills, may offer valet charging and curbside pickup.

It envisions that the flagship in San Francisco will be housed in a former warehouse and feature a glass lounge with TVs. The Santa Barbara location could have a patio with benches. Other designs call for an outdoor cafe and a waiting room with espresso machines.

Other charging companies are also thinking up ways to make plugging in more convenient and pleasant. It can take 30 minutes to an hour or more to replenish an electric car's battery at a fast-charging station, so why not give people something to do while they wait?

One Tesla Supercharger location between Los Angeles and San Francisco has a waiting room with a cafe, and the company has floated the idea of installing restaurants by charging stations. Audi is piloting a small station with a lounge in Germany, while Porsche is planning to roll out "premium charging stations" in Europe, the company announced during its annual meeting this month.

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