Hewitt Studios were approached by ChargePoint Services (CPS) to work with them to develop a new model for a zero-carbon EV charging hub.
EVs are now penetrating a much wider market, leading to increased charging demand. CPS have seen exponential growth in EV charge sessions over the past few years, in the order of 40 times more sessions per month, every month, since the beginning of the 2014.
Advances in charging technology mean that most new EVs can be DC fast-charged in 20-30 minutes (instead of the 7-10 hours it takes with AC).
This opens up the possibility of breaking a journey to charge, whilst you conduct business, eat, drink, socialise, relax, meet or shop for an hour or so. It also makes it possible for flat or city dwellers, without access to private parking, to own an EV and be able to charge it conveniently.
K: port sets out to establish itself as the leading charging solution for this new market.
The concept for K:port derives from the Japanese notion of “Komorebi”; the dappled light which occurs when sunlight shines through the leaves of a tree.
The essence of the tree is apparent throughout the scheme, from the form of the canopy itself and the timbers which make up its structure, to the collection and use of rainwater and sunlight - this is photosynthetic architecture.
K:port is an entirely prefabricated construction, built up as follows:
- Screw-piled steel foundations - Laminated timber trunk and primary branches, - Secondary lightweight timber grid - and a canopy of transparent, so called ‘Building Integrated’, Solar PV panels
The K:Port can be erected in just 2-3 weeks on site (dependent on electrical infrastructure) and with minimal environmental disruption.
K:port is an modular, flexible solution, capable of adapting to any site in modules of 4 charging bays.
The basic charging module can be easily configured for use by disabled drivers, or to provide electric bicycle charging.
In addition to this a building module would usually be provided, based on the same structural components as the charging bay, to provide the high-quality cafe or demonstration space that users can use for their session. This building is designed to incorporate a significant battery storage array, providing more juice at peak usage times. The building can also have a green planted roof, to reduce water run-of and increase biodiversity.
Hewitt Studios are making every component of their zero-carbon K:Port design work as hard as it can environmentally; each element is usually serving at least two functions, sometimes more.
The upper canopy surface captures both the suns energy and rainwater for re-use.
The FSC-certified timber ‘tree’ supports the canopy and contains the services. It also holds the charging cables off the ground to avoid the ‘trailing cable’ syndrome.
The central timber containers are variously planters, battery arrays and charging stations.
Finally, the rainwater harvesting system feeds these planters, the wider landscape and can also be used to flush the building module toilets.
24 hour operation
K:Port is attractive to use; day or night.
The use of coloured lights, suspended between the twinned primary structure, will dramatically illuminate the canopy whilst also providing a charge status indicator. The hue of the bay will change over the course of a charging session, allowing waiting drivers to see when their car is finished and arriving customers to identify an unoccupied (or soon to be vacated) space.
K:Port is designed to be future proof.
The charge points use state of the art technology and can be easily updated and / or upgraded with new features as and when they become available.
At the end of its life, the timber K:port branch structure is capable of supporting a solid (green) roof and the charging bays can be infilled to become a flexible, sustainable, timber-framed building.
Alternatively, the entire structure can be easily dismantled and re-used or recycled. The timber branches simply unbolt and can be re-purposed or used as biomass fuel. The steel pile foundations can be easily unscrewed to be re-used.
Smart Grid Integration
K:Port can be integrated as part of a smart grid energy campus, creating a hub by which to manage local energy demand and supply. Its battery storage array is capable of storing excess energy generated by on-site renewables. Met Office forecasting can be used to predict energy generation and smart monitoring technologies to predict energy demand. The data collected informs a demand management system, distributing renewable energy locally and trading with the national grid when appropriate to achieve a significant reduction in energy costs.
Hewitt Studios is currently working with Schneider Electric on the first implementation of this Smart Grid technology at Berkeley Green, an ex-nuclear laboratories site which is being transformed into a training centre for the renewables energy industry.
K:Port formed part of successful bids made by both Bristol City Council and the North East Combined Authority to the Office for Low Emission Vehicle’s (OLEV) for part of their £40million Go Ultra Low funding scheme, intended to enable a raft of EV-friendly initiatives across the UK. We are now in the final stages of evaluating a number of sites in the south-west, with the first K:Ports anticipated for delivery in 2018.
In summary K:Port comprises a fast-track, sustainable EV charging hub. It incorporates fast chargers with associated power generation and power storage, a water harvesting and sustainable drainage system, integrated electrical services and lighting, elements of planting / landscaping and an exceptional cafe environment. It is designed to act as the central hub to a renewables smart grid network.