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Cambridge Design Partnership’s pop-up mini solar car park/EV hub sets new bar



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End-to-end innovation partner Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP) has helped the UK’s leading solar car park company, 3ti, create Papilio3, a pop-up mini solar car park and EV charging hub.

Cambridge Design Partnership’s Papilio 3 pop-up solar EV charging facility is ingenious and practical
Cambridge Design Partnership’s Papilio 3 pop-up solar EV charging facility is ingenious and practical

The CDP team of industrial, mechanical, and product design engineers collaborated closely with 3ti, from concept development and visualisation to product engineering and realisation. CDP supported 3ti in building the supply chain for the pop-up mini solar car park, which is built around a recycled shipping container and combines solar electricity generation, battery energy storage, and EV charge points.

The Toft-based development team has helped 3ti create Papilio3, which will advance the rollout of EV charging infrastructure, help decarbonise the mobility sector and support the global transition to net zero.

3ti’s founder and CEO, Tim Evans, said: “From our very first meeting, CDP understood and shared our vision for Papilio3.

The Papilio 3 pop-up solar EV charging facility at night
The Papilio 3 pop-up solar EV charging facility at night

“We’ve worked in close partnership over 12 months to get to this exciting point. We’re now focused on commercialisation and plan to have units available to roll-out across the UK by autumn.

“CDP built a talented, multi-disciplinary team addressing our mechanical brief, and delivered our first prototype designs at speed. Working with an end-to-end innovation partner like CDP has proved to be a wise decision. Since launching Papilio3 on May 26, the response has been phenomenal, with enquiries from around the world.

“Our crowdfunding campaign, designed to fund the roll-out of Papilio3, exceeded its target of £500,000 within 24 hours and we’ve taken the decision to overfund to make the most of this opportunity. I’d like to thank the team at CDP for being a key part of the project.”

The hub solar/EV hub developed by Cambridge Design Partnership for 3ti
The hub solar/EV hub developed by Cambridge Design Partnership for 3ti

Made in the UK, Papilio3 makes charging accessible to EV drivers who can’t charge at home, providing destination charging in places without existing infrastructure, including for offices, retail outlets, and leisure facilities.

Papilio3 is assembled from recycled shipping containers and provides 12 EV charge points under a waterproof solar panel canopy. The pop-up mini solar car park is designed for swift and straightforward deployment. Installation takes under 24 hours, with minimal site works, no new grid connection, and with no need for planning permission in most instances. The units are available to rent from 3ti, avoiding up-front costs or long-term commitments. A video explainer is available here.

The first unit was installed at Surrey Research Park, Guildford, hosted by the University of Surrey, in May, ahead of the launch of 3ti’s crowdfunding campaign. 3ti is crowdfunding to support its rapidly growing business, which is focused on “generating clean, renewable energy today, for everyone’s tomorrow”. By becoming a shareholder in 3ti, investors will be supporting the UK’s switch to electric vehicles and the decarbonisation of the mobility sector. Details of investor events are available here.

The Papilio3 involves a used shipping container
The Papilio3 involves a used shipping container

Papilio3 is the latest example of CDP’s work in high-impact innovation in renewables, EV charging, and energy infrastructure.

CDP’s head of industrial, James Baker, said: “We’re proud to work with start-ups and scale-ups, like 3ti, addressing the biggest challenges. Helping companies innovate and develop new businesses in infrastructure is key to decarbonisation.

“Papilio3 addresses renewables infrastructure with a much-needed, easy-to-deploy, and cost-effective approach.”



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