This autumn, a trial with a Transparent charging station on the Raamplein in Amsterdam. This charging station won the Dutch Design Award in the Product category in 2018 and is an answer to the growing importance of insight into technologies in the city and the role of algorithms in this. 

With the Transparent Charge Point, you can see charging capacity that is available and how the capacity is distributed among the connected vehicles. This new technology provides users with insight into the charging process of their cars. This also provides insight into the decision-making process of algorithms.

Knowledge and innovation center ELaadNL, the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, TU Delft, Design agency The Incredible Machine and the Municipality of Amsterdam are working together in this trial to provide more transparency about the smart charging process of electric cars. a display shows how the power is distributed between the charging electric cars. Cars are charged smartly at Raamplein on the basis of the available grid capacity

Currently, almost 500 of the charging points in Amsterdam charge 'smartly'. An algorithm (finite series of steps in which a certain mathematical problem can be solved) of a smart charging station decides how fast it will be charged. For example, charging is faster off-peak on the electricity grid and when a lot of solar energy is available. In addition, priority can be given to certain cars.

During this test, extra loading priority will be made available for shared cars. It is currently unclear to users and Amsterdammers what the algorithm decides in the loading process and why. At the same time, there is a question for government and companies how to supervise algorithms that affect the public sphere. The Transparent Charge Point will provide insight into this by making the underlying choices of the algorithm visible on the display.

Transparent charging station concept

The Transparent Charging Pole was designed in 2017 by The Incredible Machine on behalf of EladerNL and Liander. An application is being tested in practice for the first time in Amsterdam.

An electric car is charged
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