Electric driving is becoming increasingly popular. In 2017, there were almost 120,000 electric cars on Dutch roads. More and more electric cars are coming onto the market, increasing the demand for fast charging stations. There are already a lot of Fastned stations along motorways. Within the urban and residential world people want to be able to charge their car as well. Octatube was involved in the design and construction of Fastned's new generation of city stations.
In 2016, Octatube was approached by Fastned to further develop the design for the charging station by architect Maria García. The basic form was already there but it needed to be developed further. The Fastned stations are known for their yellow edges, the wood and the solar panels. So that certainly had to be incorporated into the new design. In order to make a real statement in the city, a higher level of finish had to be realized for the city stations. The brief was to create a new design that would be less closed and dark. In addition, all cables and pipes needed to be integrated. The available space in the city is limited, so the stations had to comply with the conditions of the Welfare Committee.
With this information Octatube set to work and the design was further refined. Like an inverted umbrella, the new design catches all the rain and lets the water run through the gutter to the integrated drain pipe in the heart of the station. The geometry of the station ensures that the 16 solar panels can generate a great deal of energy independently of orientation. Each solar cell also has a solar optimizer. This is a small box that ensures that when there is some shading, the other panels still generate energy. Normally, in a series connection, the panel with the lowest power restricts the power of the entire system. By using solar optimizers, the efficiency of the station is 'optimized'. This also happens within the individual panels, but with so-called bypass diodes which, like the solar cells, are incorporated into the laminate of the glass.
The BIPV (Building integrated photovoltaics) panels are made to measure, in which the solar cells are individually positioned in the appropriate position; in the layer between the 2 glass plates. The solar cells seem to be running straight, but in order to achieve this, the cells have been slightly cut back. This is in order to match the architectural design of Maria Garcia as closely as possible.
The low iron glass has a high level of light transmission and the lamination ensures that the panels are very sturdy. The panels are supported by 4 steel frames which in turn are supported by the main steel construction consisting of a column and 4 arms. The original idea was to make the main structure entirely of wood, but the geometry of the design and the applicable load factors (e.g. wind and snow) made this impossible. The beautiful wood upholstery is a special part of the construction. These CNC-manufactured and composite rafters are completely hollow inside to give space to the steel construction and also offer all the facilities to cleverly hide the cables. The wood is entirely custom-made and constructed on the basis of Octatube's engineering and contributes to the look and feel of the station.
Daniel van Kersbergen, the project manager and engineer for this project, says: "All parts are fully optimised and integrated. Everything has been thought about to the last mm, really custom-made!"
The city stations have already been completed in 2018. Now that the government has officially stated in the coalition agreement that it wants only electric cars to be sold after 2030, the Fastned stations will become an increasingly important source of electricity for motorists.”
Bart Lubbers, co-founder Fastned: "I am extremely proud of our new station. María García, our architect, has put a lot of energy into an iconic design that is better in every detail and that is visible. Increasing the charging speed is very important, because it makes electric driving attractive for more people." (Source: www.fastned.nl).