If you own an electric car you’ll also be familiar with the wide variety of charging stations on the market today.
If you’ll forgive us for saying so, very few of them are design classics. There’s a good reason too - charging stations are nothing more than appliances, built specifically to charge electric cars.
Which got us thinking. Does it have to be that way? Do electric car charging stations have to stick out like a Monster Truck at a Prius meet-up?
With that in mind, here are just five ways individuals and firms are trying to disguise electric car charging stations, hiding them completely or redesigning them to make them a little more fun.
No-one uses phone booths any more? At least, not where we live. So in the age of the cellphone, we’d love to see local telecoms companies take the initiative and offer electric cars a place to charge.
That’s exactly what has been going on in Madrid, Spain.
Faced with a lot of telephone booths that weren’t getting used any more, the city government spent some time in 2009 looking into a way of turning the city’s unused phone booths into electric car charging stations.
We’re not sure if they succeeded, but with these valuable pieces of street furniture almost redundant nowadays with a pre-existing power supply we have to agree that converting them to electric vehicle recharging points makes complete sense - just as long as they leave somewhere for Clark Kent to change.
Baltimore parking meter - flickr user daquella_manera
Parking meters are already an integral part of any city street, so rather than install separate charging stations for electric cars it makes sense to combine them in one unit.
That’s what many firms are already doing, with the expectation that the parking meter of the future will not only tick down the remaining minutes you have on your parking, but charge your electric car while it parks.
By paying for your parking, you’re paying for your charging. And if you go over time, the charging station would simply cut power to your car.
Just like the phone booth and modern parking meters, street lamps are a ready source of electricity in any major city around the world.
But unlike parking meters and phone booths, street lamps spend at least half the day not being used, meaning that during daylight a street lamp could easily provide electric cars with power for level 2 charging without requiring an upgrade to its power circuits.
Like the Tree...
Trees have been around longer than we have, so its no surprise that humans tend to ignore trees.
So why not build an electric car charging station disguised as a tree? We’re already used to seeing cellphone towers posing as trees in areas of forest, so why not a charging station?
Obviously, if realism is important, electric car charging fake trees would only work near other trees. But if you’re after something a little more modern, how about combining it with a photovoltaic installation to give a metallic tree capable of charging an electric car?
We’ve already seen several designs on this theme, so it’s a sure bet we’ll see one reach the marketplace soon.
Super Shell Gas Pump
Remember those old school gas pumps with the little round bit on top? How about turning them into a gas-free EV pump?
While these old timers may have served their time pumping millions of gallons of premium in their lifetime, you can pick one up from a reclamation yard or local auction at anything from a few bucks to a few thousand.
Alternatively, there are even companies making replica pumps, if the thought of cutting up an antique makes you feel bad.
There are even a few gas-pump styled electric charge stations in existence already, proving you can combine the old with the new.
If you think you can do better then why not let us know your own ideas in the Comments below. We’re sure you can be much more creative than us!