Industrial Design Partners with ABM to Accelerate EV Charging Innovations
Six industrial design (INDD) students have been recognized by ABM Industries for their work designing innovative EV charging station concepts through their senior projects.
ABM Industries, a leading provider of facility services, infrastructure and electric vehicle charging solutions, and parking and transportation management, is committed to continuous innovation within the eMobility sector, and these designs will join the company’s other future-forward concepts informing the next evolution in EV infrastructure.
One of the nation’s leading installers of EV chargers, ABM launched their own branded charging solutions earlier in 2023 to bring new solutions to address the needs of drivers today. Looking to further enhance that driver experience, ABM partnered with Auburn University industrial design to explore new solutions that could improve and enhance current charger design, with emphasis on ease, ergonomics and accessibility. Thirteen INDD students participated in this project, each bringing forth a unique concept for their own variation of a charging station design.
“Auburn was a natural choice for this project given their leadership in industrial design, and they were a great partner throughout, with each student providing exciting new ideas and perspectives,” said Alex Drouillard ’18, Product Manager at ABM and Auburn Environmental Design graduate. “We went in with the plan to offer only five prizes, but the outcomes were so strong we needed to add in an additional prize to recognize these efforts and for us to consider them all for our future charger designs.”
Along with receiving a design briefing from ABM’s experts, participating students rented an electric vehicle to use and experience the locally available chargers first-hand. Over the course of nine weeks, they worked closely with ABM’s team, as well as Associate Professor Jerrod Windham, to finalize their designs. Afterward, they were judged by a panel of those experts along with their professor to score each design based upon a range of factors, including accessibility, aesthetics and manufacturing cost.
“ABM was a great partner to work with, both in bringing a real-world application to our students, but also in providing a tangible design brief that gave them a lot to work with and, ultimately, resulted in a range of different outcomes from the students,” Windham shared. “The cash prize offering was also unique, allowing for our students the opportunity to be rewarded monetarily for their work and understand the value of their designs.”
As ABM continues to explore new charging station design and applications to their current range of offerings in the coming years, the six winning concepts will help inform these new innovations and integrations. Having installed over 30,000 chargers in the US, ABM is at the forefront of furnishing fleet operators, site hosts, solution providers and local charging network providers with cutting-edge EV hardware and software technology through ABM EV charging stations and ABM EV OS.
“ABM was a really great partner, providing regular feedback and encouragement to our designs,” said Abby Freeman, overall winner of the competition. “They regularly reiterated how to use the design process, and it was interesting to see that process in action as we designed our chargers.”
This article originally appeared on ABM’s LinkedIn and may be found here.