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Enel X is Enel’s global business line dedicated to developing innovative products and digital solutions in sectors in which energy is showing the greatest potential for transformation: cities, homes, industries, and electric mobility. Enel X is interested in technical designs of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations that are easily accessible with minimal visual and physical impact within an urban environment. 

This is a Reduction to Practice Challenge that requires written documentation including electrical and mechanical design of the solution.


Electric cars are rising in popularity as consumers look for more sustainable ways to travel. With electric vehicles, the total driving distance is limited by battery capacity. For people who don’t have a driveway at home or a charging station at work, the logistics of owning and operating an electric vehicle (EV) becomes more complicated. Readily available public charging stations would increase the demand for EVs, but cities have been slow to install them due in part to the cost as well as limited curbside space. Therefore, Enel X is looking for innovative solutions to deploy a large number of EV charging stations that is economical, technically feasible, and aesthetically pleasing.

This Challenge provides contribution to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
  • SDG 9: Invest in infrastructures that promote sustainability.
  • SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
  • SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.


F.A.Q. attached

For questions about the challenge and your proposal you can contact EnelOpenInnovabilityChallenges@innocentive.com

Note: expiration date extended until May 17, 2019.




On-street urban parking is regarded as a challenging market segment to address for charging operators due to relatively high costs and time of deploying infrastructure, complexities of installation, and significant amount of up-front capital required. The installation of thousands of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on the curbsides could solve an issue for the EV market – which is how owners can charge their cars if they don’t have a dedicated driveway. Through the provision of on-street charging facilities, EV charging becomes more accessible to those without off-street parking, increasing the uptake of EVs, and reducing the emission of local and global pollutants from the transport sector.

The deployment of innovative and low cost charging solutions such as telescopic units or underground/ground-emerging charging posts that rise when requested can be considered, as well as entirely overground units; regardless of the specific implementation, the aim has to be focused on reducing the visual impact of EV charging stations and limiting the congestion on public walkways. Furthermore, accessibility must be addressed, both in physical accessibility to all users and accessibility in the sense of compliance to EV international charging standards. Furthermore, the solution shall comply with the European Accessibility Act.



Enel X is searching for cost competitive and technical designs that improve the functionality and appearance of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in an urban environment. Ideally, the solution can be scaled not only for on-street residential parking, but is also fully integrated to support the EV mass market.

NOTE: Typically, consumers provide their own charging cable, therefore approaches that incorporate this accessory will be considered, but this functionality is not necessary. On the other hand, solutions that involve modifications to light poles or other objects that typically appear on city streets are not desired and should be avoided. Furthermore, software solutions are specifically excluded.


Submissions must have the following qualities:

  1. Work with a power source ranging from 3 to 22 kW
  2. Must have an estimated cost below 500€ per unit for production above 1000 units
  3. Comply with European regulations concerning public AC charging (i.e. presence of an IEC 62196 Type 2 socket)
  4. Must be easy to be installed, possibly in serial installations (e.g. different unites below one electricity meter)
  5. Accessible for all drivers and conform to the  European Accessibility Act
  6. Allow for installation in series
  7. Maximize curbside space when not in use
  8. Offer the Seeker “freedom to practice” and there should be no third party patent art preventing the use of specific materials and technology for their commercial application

Support Enel’s commitment on SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) with specific emphasis on 7, 9, 11 and 13.


In addition, the following qualities are highly desired but not required:

  1. Minimize vandalism and maintenance (e.g. insect infestation, dog waste)
  2. Design should be original, containing an inventive step that might lead to a patent filing (Seeker will make this evaluation, but Solvers are asked to provide their thoughts and interpretation regarding this Requirement)



The submitted proposal should include the following:

  1. A detailed description of the proposed solution addressing specific Solution Requirements
  2. Well-substantiated rationale and pertinent data to support why the EV charging station works as described
  3. Schematics that illustrate important aspects of the design (e.g. electrical, mechanical, visual, functional)
  4. A bibliography of relevant literature (e.g. journal articles, patents, trade materials) that support the proposed solution
  5. An assessment of initial installation and continued maintenance costs
  6. Estimate of cost level for different volumes, prototyping timeline, and go-to-market strategy


The proposal should not include any personal identifying information (name, username, company, address, phone, email, personal website, resume, etc.) or any information the Solvers may consider as their Intellectual Property they do not want to share.




What is your minimum and maximum power rating to charge each car?


Single-phase alternating current:

The socket standards that can be used are: Type 2, Type1 and Type 3a.

Using socket type2 and socket type1 the power that the charging unit can provide is:

  • 230V @6A (minimum value settable by remote system) the power is about 1,5kW;
  • 230V @31A(maximum value settable by remote system) the power is about 7 kW

Using socket type3a the power in fixed at 230V @10A the power is 2,3kW.

Three-phase alternating current:

The socket standards that can be used are: Type 2.

Using socket type2 the power that the charging unit can provide is:

  • 400V @6A (minimum value settable by remote system) the power is about 4 kW;
  • 400V @31A(maximum value settable by remote system) the power is about 22kW

Challenge rules

The employees of Enel X who work in the e-Mobility and Innovation and Product Lab, as well as their spouses or partners and their relatives up to the fourth degree, are not eligible for participation in this Challenge.

Without prejudice to the article 5.6 of the Terms of Usage, the obligation to grant the IP rights set in this article does not apply if the winning solution is proposed by an employee of an Enel company, unless the employee is the owner of the solution according to the relevant national law.

This is a Reduction to Practice Challenge that requires written documentation including electrical and mechanical design of the solution.

The submission to the Challenge should include the following:

  1. An explanation of the proposed solution addressing specific Solution Requirements along with a well-supported rationale and pertinent data
  2. Schematics that illustrate important aspects of the design
  3. A cost assessment, prototyping timeline, and implementation strategy


Upon Acceptance of a Proposed Solution by the Seeker and payment of the Award, the exclusive IP rights of the winning Solution will be transferred to the Seeker. The Solver resulting as the winner of the Challenge guarantees his availability to provide further assistance to the Seeker for the subsequent realization by the Seeker of the prototype based on the winning Solution.

The total prize pool budget is $30,000. The minimum full award amount is $15,000 for solutions that meet all of the stated solution criteria. Furthermore, partial awards may be considered for solutions that meet some, but not all, of the criteria.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (Central European Time) on May 17, 2019. 

Late submissions will not be considered.

What happens next?

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions.



InnoCentive collaborates with Enel to manage this challenge.

InnoCentive is the global innovation marketplace where creative minds solve some of the world's most important problems for cash awards up to $1 million. Commercial, governmental and humanitarian organizations engage with InnoCentive to solve problems that can impact humankind in areas ranging from the environment to medical advancements.


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