On-street electric vehicle charging points are starting to roll out across Toronto. Here is one that I came across this morning in the Junction on Annette Street. The stations are from Flo.
At its core, this is, of course, a great thing. Ubiquitous charging points are a critical component of overall EV adoption. But at the same time, it was a good reminder that (1) above-grade electrical wires are ugly (this is the typical Toronto approach) and that (2) on-street EV charging is a design challenge that is going to need to be solved.
In the above example, the charging stations were mounted to an existing electrical pole and two bright yellow bollards were installed on either side to make sure nobody smashes into said charging stations while they’re parking and/or trying to watch TikTok videos on their phone.
But what happens when nearly everyone has an EV? There are only so many electrical poles, so we will need to move on to standalone stations at some point, and that is obviously already being done. But if we’re going to have charging points practically everywhere, how should they work and what should they look like?
I am sure that lots of very smart people are already thinking about this. But as someone who is not directly involved in this space, it feels like we need to think about these in a similar way to street lights. Because they are going to be just as ubiquitous, if not more so. That means there is a strong cause for making them both functional and beautiful.
In fact, this feels like a real city branding opportunity.