Core77 Design Awards
- Other Years
Alfresco EV Charging is a traffic barrier system furnished with an Electric Vehicle charger. This will make a sidewalk outdoor dining safer than ever and EV charging more accessible than ever.
• It is a water or sand-filled barrier
• Installation requires no mechanical fastening, which boosts deploying.
• Parts are swappable. Depending on what module is attached, it can be a charger, an advertising space, and a planter.
• It has forklift access so that it can be moved without emptying water.
• The charger module is equipped with two charging ports and one socket for vehicles with different charging standards ( BYOC )
• It can embed off-the-shelf poles and canopies to make the dining space weather-resistant.
This product is not an actual product of Electrify America. Third-party brands, trademarks, and/or copyright materials are used here for demonstration purposes only [as part of a student work].
[Alfresco dining barrier] The pandemic gave us alfresco, open dining that flattens the curve by changing car lanes into a lively communal area. People prefer eating outdoors because it feels they are safe from respiratory infections. It also gives them a European ambiance like a German Biergarten or a French café.
According to the National Restaurants Association's research in Sep 2021, 35% of restaurants that offer outdoor seating say it accounts for more than 40% of their average daily sales. Fifteen percent of operators say it represents more than 70% of their daily sales.
Many large cities, in fact, are planning to keep alfresco dining as a permanent setup post-Covid because of this shift in people's behavior and because the coronavirus is likely to coexist with humanity for quite some time due to the emergence of variants.
Current alfresco dining solutions are incomplete, dangerous, and unpleasant because the barriers are not designed to be next to people. This product has a tender, welcoming appearance and features flawless protection with expandability.
[EV charging] Despite a surge in EV sales in the US, there still are factors that slow down EV adoption. The biggest drawback is little accessibility to charging. Cities need more charging stations, and they need to be widely distributed. The product will provide an additional charging channels for EV owners.
[Benefits to diners] Most of all, diners in a dining space made of this product would be safe. The barriers are filled with water to be shock-resistant, and each barrier is connected firmly (even at the corner). The white exterior of the product makes it conspicuous to drivers and brightens up the dining space. The barrier's geometry is designed to be friendly, so diners feel more intimate leaning on the barrier or putting their arm on it. Also, the barrier can be equipped with a planter module. Plants will create separation between diners and running cars, offering a better dining experience for people.
[Benefits to EV owners] According to statistics, accessibility to EV chargers in the city is poor. Not only the number of charging stations installed is low, but also they are not evenly distributed across the city. This product will open a new paradigm utilizing a field that we have not taken advantage of well - street. The more Alfresco charging is installed in the city, the less travel EV owners need to find the charger. EV drivers will be able to charge their EV while they are eating in a restaurant or having a cup of coffee. Additionally, electric transportation that doesn't use US standard charging port (e.g., Tesla, electric scooter, electric bike, etc.) could be charged as well by plugging their own cable into this product's socket.
[Benefits to restaurants and charging utilities] The most attractive part of this product is that it is customizable. Depending on the amount and location of the barriers, restaurant owners can organize the appropriate size and shape of outdoor dining space. Since it is extremely lightweight without water inside, you could try various layouts without heavy-duty equipment.
This product can be used not only for outdoor dining but also for every outdoor event such as flea markets, outdoor galleries, or community festivals. When you need a rapid change in layout while prepping an event, the product can be relocated by a forklift using forklift access.
Two fastening rods that are used in the product can be replaced with a canopy mount so the product can embed off-the-shelf poles and canopy. It will allow restaurant owners to make their dining space weather-resistant.
A provider such as Electrify America would achieve a reputation for pioneering an undiscovered field: street charging. The product has a strong branding effect to persuade other restaurant owners, and it will help Electrify America gather more EV owners under their membership.
[Benefits to society] The product is made of recycled plastic and uses water as its method for making it heavy.
Functioning parts are swappable and shareable. For example, the charging module and planter module share the same base part, which reduces part counts.
Once the society (city) gets more EV chargers well distributed across it, people will start to adopt more EVs, and that transition will reduce the use of fossil fuels.
This product uses level two charging (240V), which a lot of commercial places are already equipped with. There is no reconstruction needed, so it is faster than level three fast-charging stations to deploy.
Reconfigured streets will be more pedestrian-friendly.
[Other design considerations] The generous and friendly exterior design gives a welcoming impression to the diners who are sitting next to it. Also, the top surface won't collect either dust or water. undefined
Some parts have a flange or protruding geometry, so they can be assembled and physically constrained without any mechanical fastening. It will make the product significantly easier to relocate and reorganize.
Since it can be used for a charging module, its geometry prevents water from permeating electrical parts. E.g., volcano shape around water inlet, wall around internal components.
For the hollow and blow-molded part, surfaces have 3 degrees of a draft angle, which can be molded at once, drastically reducing manufacturing costs.
The entire product is grain-textured to conceal the parting line from molding.
The screen of the charging module is located 1,300mm above the ground to make the product as universal as possible and approachable regardless of physical condition. I benchmarked ATMs to determine screen height.
[Mockup process] I benchmarked many existing traffic barriers (both concrete and water-filled) to find appropriate dimensions, linkage system, screen height, etc. Then I made a 1:1 cardboard mockup to figure out the best profile of the product. The biggest takeaway was the screen height. Initially, I set 1,600 mm above ground but changed to 1,300 mm to make the product truly accessible and universal to everyone, regardless of physical condition.
In this project, I put a lot of effort into making the product as realistic as possible. I tried to propose a feasible business model for both brand and city. Every geometry of this product has a reason and follows the necessity. Also, I applied all of my manufacturing knowledge to this product, such as draft angle, texture, active cooling system, fastening, part rigidity, water drainage, and screen panel.