Core77 Design Awards
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Transportation is responsible for nearly 30% of all NYC's greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), with most of these emissions coming from passenger cars. Increasing the number of EVs in the five boroughs is an important part of NYC's effort to fight climate change by reducing GHG emission 80% by 2050.
The plugNYC chargers provide an EV with a full charge in four to eight hours, depending on the vehicle's battery size. 100 chargers were installed at curbside locations across the five boroughs. The locations were selected based on projected demand for charging, geographic diversity, and input from local elected officials and community stakeholders. Public input on charger sites was also collected on the NYC DOT's website.
The plugNYC Level 2 chargers feature a standard SAE J1772 connector that is compatible with most EVs. Tesla owners can use the chargers with an adapter that comes with each Tesla.
Users will pay $2.50 per hour from 6am to 9pm and $1 per hour from 9pm to 6am. Customers can pay by smartphone, by tap card, or on the program website.
Once customers download the Flo-Network smartphone app and create a user profile, they are ready to approach the charger, quickly unlock it using the interactive map on the app, connect the charging port, and automatically pay for the electricity used at the end of the charge event. Users without a smartphone can request a personal RFID card and wave it in front of the charger to unlock it, the rest of the process is the same. The app shows the session time elapsed and the energy (kWh) added to the vehicle. An RGBW LED beacon at the top of the charger changes colors to indicate the state of the charger: Steady Green: charger ready to charge but not in use, Flashing White: user authentication completed / charger connector unlocked, and Steady white: the user started a charge event. An LCD screen provides further communication with the user.
Informational graphics on the pedestrian side clearly explain the program to the public while providing a QR code for direct access to the app and phone numbers for customer service.
The elegant slender design of plugNYC relates to the existing NYC street furniture line and occupies minimal space on the sidewalk. It features a 9" x 5" rectangular pylon that supports two chargers while enabling cable management that does not touch the ground, cable reach of up to 25 feet, and branding for this pilot program. The pylon houses a counter-weight retractor system connected to the charging cord by a steel cable. This system functionally enables connection to electric vehicles regardless of the location of the charging port on the car (not standardized), the size of the vehicle, or its parking position (parallel, angled or perpendicular). The system is durable for over 10,000 cycles, works at extreme temperatures (high and low), and is tolerant of rain or dirt entering its system.
plugNYC's foundation was designed to create a clean connection with the sidewalk while providing safety features for pedestrians and drivers. At its very bottom, the rectangular pylon houses both an electrical and mechanical breakaway system. In case of a collision of a vehicle with the charger these systems assure the post does not fall on top of pedestrians and the high-voltage electrical feed is instantly disconnected.
The main design goal was to integrate plugNYC into New York's streetscape in a minimal and unobtrusive way. The mast design becomes a part of New York's citywide street furniture line and the city at large. The design language was inspired by current trends in sustainable transportation, automotive, and consumer product design. The product features a slim profile that does not obstruct the sidewalk and a pedestrian-friendly aesthetic that is appropriate to represent new urban mobility trends. Finally, the branding and environmental graphics communicate to the public what the product is for and are coordinated with other NYC Streetscape initiatives.
- Product Design is minimal and unobtrusive
- Does not block pedestrian flow, even on narrow sidewalks
- Relates to existing NYC street furniture line in both shape and colors
- Relates to other electrical charging equipment in the the city
- Communicates 21st Century Public Transportation
- Informational graphics explain the product function to the public
- Charging cable does not touch the ground, does not create tripping hazards
- Charging cable and connector can reach any EV charge port regardless of EV model and/or parking position
The pilot is comprised of 100 chargers on 50 plugNYC charge posts distributed across 35 sites in the five boroughs. Including: 29 Parallel, 2 Angled, and 4 Perpendicular parking sites