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S2e Technologies of St. Jacob’s, Ont. has received funding to develop what it’s touting will be the world’s first automated parking tower with charging stations for shared electric vehicles (EVs).
Ady Vyas, s2e’s vice-president for energy and mobility solutions, explained recently the project, to be incorporated into the ground-breaking Eve Park community in London, Ont., will build upon existing rotary carousel-style parking tower models already used in more than 30 nations worldwide. The towers take up a footprint of just two parking spots, six by eight metres, with drivers parking in an open spot on the ground level and vehicles rotated up via a simple chain mechanism. The towers rise in multiples of two parking spaces.
The overall footprint is 88 per cent less than typical parking towers, with their ramps and driveways and other wasted space, says s2e.
Condo ownership at Eve Park includes EV car-sharing rights and s2e aims to have its first parking towers in place by the end of next year with the additional technologies — automated charging, self-driving vehicles and valet-style dispatching with personalized pick-up — all coming fast.
“There are people interesting in this kind of sustainable living,” said Vyas. “They are interested in EVs, and they value convenience more than anything. I think we can provide them with convenience in that format.”
There are numerous charging options being considered.
“We’re exploring everything from standard Level 2 charging to wireless charging to V2G (vehicle to ground) to automatic charging connections and then integrating these various technologies into high-density parking, because we believe that this is what the future looks like,” Vyas explained.
On Aug. 14 Natural Resources Canada announced $2.4 million in funding from the government’s Green Infrastructure Program toward s2e’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Demonstration Project — the EV charging component. S2e is partnering with DYPC, South Korea-based pioneers of Smart parking towers, to develop and integrate the charging and autonomous vehicle technology.
Eve Park will have four “helixes” with 20 condos each for a total of 80 units. The developer plans to build eight parking towers — two per helix — housing about 10 EVs each for a total of 84 parking spots.
In some jurisdictions a typical smart parking tower can be erected in less than five days by three or four workers. S2e promises erection in 15 days after a concrete foundation has been installed — to ensure safe construction.
In Canada it typically costs $35,000 to $40,000 per spot for an above-ground parking structure and for an underground garage it’s $45- to $50,000. Parking towers are 40 per cent cheaper, says s2e.
“From a cost perspective, if you are in the middle of nowhere and you are happy with the urban sprawl, you can put an asphalt parking lot in. But when you talk about high-density residential areas, downtown cores, urban centres, space is at a premium,” said Vyas.
Parking towers in other jurisdictions are sometimes bare-bones steel and concrete, Vyas noted, but with Eve Park there will be attractive cladding.
“What we are trying to do, it has to blend in with the environment,” he said. “So what we are doing, it will be nicely cladded and made part of the overall architecture of the building.”
EllisDon is the contractor for Eve Park and Vyas said the parking towers, in their simplest form, can be a temporary solution to confined construction sites where workers need to find parking spots for a few months — he has discussed this with the builder for other projects it works on in dense areas, he said.
“In an industrial setting or part of a construction setting, you don’t need to pretty it up. You can leave it bare bones, and it has the same functional value,” he said.
S2e is also working with a university on another parking tower project.
“We are aiming to put solar panels on as cladding,” Vyas said. “There are cool ways you can clad it to make it part of the environment. You can make it living walls.”
Eve Park will be a net-zero-energy project as will another major London project s2e is working on, Sifton’s West 5 community.