Flora is a public electric vehicle charging station, powered by plants. This concept stemmed from a simple problem, being that EVs aren't actually as "green" as we think they are. At this point in time, most charging points in the US and around the world source their power from the grid, whose power is generated by the burning of coal (which releases CO2 into the atmosphere). Flora solves this problem by using clean and renewable biomass energy (from photosynthesis) to generate the electricity needed to charge electric cars, and is meant to be a future replacement for existing charging points around the world.
Burning coal releases CO2 into the atmosphere, and because of this, electric vehicles are not much greener than regular cars in the long run. With a whopping 40 million charging points predicted worldwide by 2040, this is a big problem that can be addressed using biomass renewable energy. Plants generate organic matter through photosynthesis, some of which is used for their own growth, and what's left over is turned into electron matter in the soil. Through the use of electrodes and circuit boards, these electrons can be converted into usable electricity! Although this is a newer energy source and isn't currently widely used, it poses a unique solution to the CO2 emissions on behalf of electric vehicle chargers. Despite Flora being similar in size to a traditional charging station, it has more capabilities. Not only can Flora charge a car, but its power can also be accessed regardless of time of day or weather, unlike stations that are powered by wind or solar power. Users would be able to find Flora in areas where charging stations are typically located (such as parking lots and garages), as a substitute for existing stations.
Each station is equipped with two charging cords and a logo impression under each handle that allows for users to pay for their charge through the friendly and intuitive Flora app. The purpose of the Flora app is to incentivize users to utilize this charging station opposed to a traditional one. In order to do this, the app is equipped with a statistic feature that displays how consumers have helped the environment with each Flora visit. This screen is equipped with information regarding a user's most recent visit, how much coal they've saved over the course of the past six months, and their average fill up time. The Flora app is also here to help by offering a tap-to-pay feature to make the user's experience simple and easy. The user will simply open the app, locate the Flora hexagon, tap their phone to it, and complete their payment within the app. Feel free to explore the app prototype here. Collectively, Flora is a step toward a more environmentally efficient future.