North American company, StressCrete Group, has partnered with Quebec-based FLO to launch electric vehicle (EV) charging stations embedded inside spun concrete poles. The products provide communities with the opportunity to easily access EV charging infrastructure while supporting green solutions.
StressCrete selected FLO, a leading North American EV charging network operator and supplier of smart charging solutions, to supply the charging equipment for its product, the VoltLock. The product is a concealed Level II EV charging station built into StressCrete’s Alexander pole, providing what the firms call a discrete station at which to charge electric cars.
There are several benefits of the VoltLock pole, including the following:
– cavities in the base of the pole conceal the EV supply equipment, providing a safe, tamper-resistant solution;
– the pole provides an aesthetic that adapts to streetscapes, as the wires and equipment are hidden inside the pole;
– installation of the charging station is faster and easier, as it uses existing street lighting infrastructure, which saves communities time and resources;
– the FLO Level II EVSE works with all EV models, making the charging station accessible to every EV owner;
– the product can combine with the FLO SmartTWO charging station containing a locking mechanism which protects the connector and stores it safely off the ground.
“FLO is pleased to be the inaugural supplier of EV charging equipment for the VoltLock,” said Brookes Shean, general manager, USA East and Central Canada at FLO, in the release. “FLO and StressCrete Group share a strong focus on durable and reliable products and services, which in the case of FLO is the foundation of EV drivers’ trust in our charging stations.
“The VoltLock offers multiple opportunities for communities to expand EV charging infrastructure, even in demanding environments, while providing excellent protection against many types of tampering. When combined with the patented locking mechanism in FLO’s SmartTWO charging station, this robust solution is perfect for communities looking to increase EV adoption.”
Why spun concrete poles?
Established in 1953, StressCrete is the longest-operating manufacturer of spun concrete poles in North America.
The company designs its spun-concrete shells for strength, durability and resilience to the environment, including extreme weather events, fire, ice storms, rot, woodpeckers and insects.
In addition, StressCrete says the poles save cities and communities on maintenance costs each year.
“StressCrete Group is always looking for new ways to integrate technology into our infrastructure products,” said Luke van Vliet, chief growth officer of StressCrete Group in the release. “We are excited to introduce the VoltLock, a new solution that will help communities scale up their green infrastructure by utilizing their existing street lighting network.”
Replacing one problem with another?
Cement, an ingredient in concrete, produces more pollution than all of the trucks in the world according to statistics in a BNN Bloomberg article. Yet concrete is the second-most-consumed material in the world – behind only water – amounting to three tonnes per year for every person.
Using spun concrete to house chargers for environmentally friendly EVs may therefore seem counter-intuitive.
Precast concrete, however, is more sustainable, as the environmental conditions in a precast concrete facility can be managed better than a construction site, resulting in less waste. The National Precast Concrete Association says manufacturing facilities are relatively stable environments, which makes them better equipped to handle elements that can be potential environmental offenders.
Also when specialty casts are created, they are reused for multiple pours, as opposed to construction site casts, which are commonly scrapped after a single use.
The chargers are currently available to communities across North America.
The StressCrete Group
The StressCrete Group is family-owned and operates across North America, with manufacturing facilities in five locations, including Alabama, Kansas and Ontario.
The company manufactures products, including outdoor LED lights, for multiple industries including municipalities, power distribution and transmission, electrical and communications and sports lighting.
FLO is a leading North American charging network for EVs, headquartered in Quebec City. The company also has offices in Montreal, Ontario, British Columbia, California, New York and Florida.
FLO offers smart home charging solutions for both single-family houses and multi-unit residential buildings, as well as access to thousands of public charging stations across the country. The company is also a major supplier of smart charging software and equipment.
Each month, FLO and its parent company, AddEnergie, enable thousands of charging events with the use of more than 45,000 high-quality stations deployed on public networks, commercial and residential installations. Charging events allow drivers to avoid exceeding the capacity of their local grid, which helps them control their electricity consumption.