When Rick Hesl, a principal at Baltimore’s Art and Science Group, told us at Reliance Foundry about his project to develop a charging station for his electric car, we were intrigued. Rick is a champion of sustainability, and his technical resourcefulness has led to what may be one of the most unique and “green” uses of a Reliance Foundry bollard cover ever. In October 2012, when Rick purchased his first electric car, a Chevrolet Volt, he had an electrician run an electric line underground from the breaker box in his house to a curbside connection. It is at this point that Rick began experimenting and developing innovative plastic bollard systems to house and protect the charging equipment. "I've read all the science on climate change, and I'm convinced if we don't get off our addiction to fossil fuels, the consequences will be dreadful for our children and grandchildren," says Hesel. “So, each of us has to do our small part and driving an electric car is mine."
Electric cars are recharged through a 220 volt socket. Often these outlets are housed in devices that look like bollards, and they are available for public use in a limited network that runs throughout the United States. However, charging units installed at residential addresses are generally no more than curb-side outlets that leave mechanical and electric components exposed.
Rick wanted something better, so he developed a bollard-like receptacle from a PVC pipe. It looked great and got rave reviews online, but it had one downfall: it left the connector exposed to the elements and potential acts of vandalism. Since the connector could become wet, it put Rick at risk of a severe electrical shock. Rather than facing wearing rubber gloves as a safety precaution when plugging in his car, Rick researched the problem and turned to Reliance Foundry for help.
"I did some pretty extensive research on the web about bollards and bollard covers; that's how I found Reliance," said Hesel. "On that basis I concluded [Reliance] had superior products. Their web site also had extensive technical data about the products, which sealed the deal for me."
What Rick needed to solve the challenge of the exposed connector was a plastic bollard cover. Rick selected Reliance Foundry’s model R-7120 plastic post cover, which has a 9-3/8 inch diameter and a 72 inch height. Since Rick’s receptacle was only 36 inches high, Reliance Foundry trimmed it for free, as we do for every customer who requests it, and also sent a cut-off piece that enabled allowed Rick to construct the cover door for the connector.
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During the time he was developing his upgraded charging station, Rick decided to buy yet another electric car, and ordered a multi-coat red P85 Tesla. Changing to the Tesla meant he had to make some changes in his charging bollard design also. After a month of working weekends on the project, Rick finished what he called his "Tesla station."
The entire unit is waterproof and safe. It uses a Hubbell 3 pole, 4 wire plug to connect the charging bollard to the outlet, which is located at the bottom of the bollard. When not in use, the entire unit can be moved indoors. For fun, Rick ordered a Tesla logo for the top of the bollard and added red accenting stripes. Tesla enthusiasts hailed his accomplishment with such accolades as "way cool!" and "awesome!" Rick’s charging bollard looks so good that many people ask if he plans to market his design. "As far as patenting this; it's probably not possible" says Rick. "I urge readers to use their imagination and take risks with invention. It usually yields totally unique results, like my custom Tesla charging station. It likely will be the only one in existence, and it was great fun to do."
Reliance Foundry’s plastic bollard and post covers are available in ten standard colors, with three different accenting stripe options. They are light-weight, highly-durable and cost effective. Generally used to protect bumper posts, they eliminate the need for annual scraping and painting while increasing visibility and safety. Reliance Foundry’s plastic post covers are easily maintained. We keep them in stock and can ship immediately. To view plastic bollard covers that are perfect for adding weather resistance to posts (or for developing your own clever invention), visit the plastic bollard cover section of Reliance Foundry’s web site.