Peugeot Design Lab has released its vision for the charging station of the future – the Driveco Parasol. Made of sustainable materials, the Parasol provides shade for the cars that are charging up on energy collected from the roof mounted solar panels, and uses a smart grid system to share energy with nearby stations that need it most.
Built around a wooden frame, the Driveco Parasol charging station incorporates 88 photovoltaic panels that cover 150 m2 (1615 ft2 ) on top of canopy. These solar panels feed their power into lithium-ion batteries, neatly incorporated into the structure of the station.
Because solar power is unreliable, the Parasol would be fitted with an intelligent energy management system to redistribute power between neighboring Parasols when one of them is low on power. This is designed to allow the system to operate all day, every day regardless of weather conditions and how heavily they're being used.
According to the Peugeot Design team, each charging station is able to simultaneously charge seven vehicles, be they cars, scooters or eBikes. There's also an option for quick charging if you need to get on the move quickly, although no specs have been disclosed at this point, so there's no way of knowing how it would stack up against Tesla's Superchargers or Renault's smart-chargers.
The unveiling of the concept comes as more car manufacturers are looking into how they can get involved in the supply of power, and the way we interact with the grid. Examples include Honda's gas station 2.0 and Nissan's pilot venture with power company Enel, which allows vehicle owners to use energy collected from renewable energy to power their homes and workplaces, essentially turning them into mobile power hubs that can make the most of cheap renewable energy and use it when demand is high.
Currently, one Parasol has been commissioned at Bastia, France, and another is set to be commissioned at Ajaccio.