The Radio Cab Company building, located in downtown Portland, Oregon, is one of the only indoor gas stations in the entire United States. It is a full service, 24 hour gas station and serves as the headquarters of the cab company. Built in 1910 and on the historic inventory list, this brick building’s unique masonry detailing and historical character make it one of the more recognizable buildings in the city. As an approach to marry the past and the future, an adaptive reuse direction was taken to retain the historical characteristics of the past, while providing a new technology that allows it to adapt to the growing future of electric vehicles.
Portland is currently undergoing a rapid change in landscape. With the unprecedented increase in population, Portland is becoming increasingly more dense and relying more on ride sharing. As we depend less on personal vehicles, vehicles will also depend less on us. Autonomous vehicle technology is on a parallel path with electric vehicle technology and will merge, allowing us to no longer depend on personal vehicles. Shared, autonomous vehicles eliminate the need for personal parking, freeing the streets of clutter and relieving the strains that personal vehicles put on neighborhoods. The future vehicle will provide a streamlined, on-demand experience, where the mundane tasks associated with upkeep will be left to the vehicle and no longer a burden that interferes with everyday life.
With the advancement in battery technology, charging can be achieved at much faster rates. Rapid charging in a matter of minutes requires a high current, which generates a considerable amount of heat. As part of the future charging stations, super heatsinks will be integrated in order to disperse the heat generated from charging batteries. These super heatsinks can transfer the heat generated to either the exterior of the building or geothermally, depending on the ambient air temperature outside. The super heatsinks will also have the ability to store the thermal energy created, which then can be used to warm parts of the building that demand heating, acting much like a battery for the building itself.
This charging hub will continue to be the headquarters of the existing ride sharing company, facilitating their evolution into the future of electric and autonomous technology. The fleet of vehicles servicing the city would be able to rapidly charge at this centralized location, in order to quickly and efficiently serve the public and their on-demand needs. This multifaceted facility provides a variety of advantages for the electric vehicle, but ultimately changes how the community integrates and interacts with personal transportation.