Milence location design

Driver centric, technology first

About a quarter of road transport emissions in the European Union come from heavy commercial vehicles. The transition to electric freight transport must therefore be accelerated.

Late last year, Proof of the sum won the architectural competition organized by Milence for its location concept. Milence wants to provide the best rest and charging experience for its users. He or she must be able to truly unwind. The vision of Proof of the sum centered on the driver, sustainability and integrality.

Milence, founded in 2022 as a joint venture between Daimler Trucks, Traton Group and Volvo Group, has set itself the goal of realizing more than 1,700 high-quality charging points for heavy transport across Europe in five years.

Placemaking
The new Milence charging locations focus on driver and truck comfort. Logical and safe turning circles guide the driver in a single direction of travel to the spacious parking bays. The laminated wood arch and roof structures provide protection and shelter for both drivers and chargers. In addition, they form the strong visual identity of each Milence location. The soft character of the wood is further enhanced by careful lighting, integrated signage and attention to water buffering and vegetation. A high-end pavilion is located in a highly visible location with options for lounge, vending machines with fresh meals, washroom facilities and possibly an outdoor fitness facility. This will enhance the experience of each visit. Both for short visits during fast charging and longer overnight stays at the site.

Detachable
The proposed design principles answer Milence’s ambition to accelerate the sustainable transition. Bio-based materials, detachable detailing, thorough prefabrication and modularity form the basis. This creates a location concept with an appropriate sustainability score. Virtually all building elements are prepared centrally in Europe and are easily assembled at the sites.

The modular approach also makes the concept easily scalable. The Milence locations will be realized both as complete new greenfields but also by electrification of parking lots at existing truck parks. Locations will in principle range from 4(S) to 64(XL) charging points.

Integrated
Following the architect selection, the design team was expanded to further develop the design. The team was completed with Arcadis, Today, Treetek and Dekra. Arcadis focuses on the underground (cable) infrastructure and foundations. Treetek is the engineer for the timber structure. Dekra performs the role of (fire) safety consultant, and Today is developing the signage concept. With all parties, a design manual was developed which is used as a guide by the local development teams throughout Europe.

Mike Kok (Brand Manager Milence): “I think what’s special about Proof of the sum is that they do things super fact-based. Not just giving an answer, yet always ready for a quick response or being flexible to get something done. The direct personal involvement and establishing a partnership has , besides the strong design, been decisive in working with them.”

Pioneering
Little to no guidelines or standards are yet available for designing truck charging locations. On every aspect, it is pioneering for Milence and the design team. The design is actually a product which is carefully verified in every design step. For this, the use of 3D simulations, market research, sounding board groups and physical testing of mock-ups are essential. Finally, extensive research was done on current and future charging technology so that the design can effortlessly integrate it now and in the future.

Charging hub Antwerp
Recently, Europe’s largest public charging hub for heavy-duty electric trucks opened. Proof of the sum designed the European location concept in close cooperation with Milence, Treetek, Arcadis, Today and Dekra.  With the 20 charging bays in Antwerp, we demonstrate the first large-scale application of the concept. Here, charging technology, ergonomics, safety and bio-based construction come together integrally.

Next steps…

But we are not standing still. Together with Milence, we are already designing the next steps. Rest facilities for drivers, landscaping and the new MCS charging technology play an important role in this. The construction of the next locations across Europe where all elements come together has already started.

Key drivers

  • Movement patterns
  • Sustainability
  • Modularity

Services

  • Architectural design

Credits

  • Client: Milence
  • Team: Roy Pype, Blaz Solar, Inés Carvalho Cornejo, Martynas Solovejus, Celine Dorval, Giorgia Spadaro, Maurice van den Berg, Di Fang & Xabier Larrinaga Mugica
  • Consultants: Arcadis, Treetek, Today, Dekra
  • Visualizations: Proof of the sum, Renderji
  • Photography: Marcel van der Burg, Proof of the sum & Treetek