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Starting with Amsterdam, Audi envisions good-looking, city-specific EV chargers

By 2030, all new passenger cars sold in the Netherlands must be emission-free. While the tiny nation has one of the world's densest EV charging networks, a feasibility study by PwC found that an additional 644 charging points need to be added every business day between 2021 and 2029.

Many of those units will be placed in public spaces, making them part of the urban streetscape. To envision how EV infrastructure could reflect a city's personality instead of just adding clutter, Audi asked Studio Sabine Marcelis to design a streetside charger specifically for the city of Amsterdam. 

Marcelis created a base that's 3D-printed out of sand and contains sockets for plugging in vehicles, including e-bikes. The top section of the bidirectional charger is made of glass in shades of red and black. The glass reflects the charger's surroundings, allowing it to blend in with its immediate environment. Hidden inside are solar cells that enable the unit to generate a small amount of power.

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Transitioning to fossil-free transportation requires abundant access to charging. Audi's design experiment proposes looking for solutions that enrich the urban environment instead of degrading it. Like Sunne, the self-powered solar lamp we featured last month, technological shifts provide opportunities to merge innovation and aesthetics, seducing consumers with form as well as function.

Innovation of the day