Automotive

Streetlamp charging points light the way for EV charging convenience

50 new streetlamp charging points are being installed throughout the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
50 new streetlamp charging points are being installed throughout the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
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The streetlamp charging sockets only work with Ubitricity's SmartCable, which has a usage meter built in
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The streetlamp charging sockets only work with Ubitricity's SmartCable, which has a usage meter built in
50 new streetlamp charging points are being installed throughout the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
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50 new streetlamp charging points are being installed throughout the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Though more and more charging stations are being installed to support the growing number of electric vehicles quietly taking over the tarmac, many EV drivers still recharge overnight when electricity is cheap. That's fine if you have a garage, but inner city apartment-dwelling EV enthusiasts may struggle. Germany's Ubitricity has come up with a game-changing solution – giving ubiquitous streetlamps double duty by converting them into charging points.

Berlin-based Ubitricity actually started converting streetlamps to charging points in the London borough of Hounslow in 2015, has since expanded to Richmond upon Thames and yesterday announced 50 more SimpleSockets installations are heading for Kensington and Chelsea.

The conversion begins by converting existing streetlamps to energy-efficient LED. This frees up some of the available power, which can then be used for an EV charging socket installed at the base of the lamp column – without having to dig up the road to install new cables.

The charging points in the Kensington and Chelsea project, the result of a partnership between energy technology company OVO and Ubitricity, will reportedly draw 100 percent renewable energy. The SimpleSockets are being placed next to pay and display parking spots in the borough.

The SimpleSocket will only work with Ubertricity's SmartCable, which is home to a meter that registers how much electricity has been used by the EV driver, who will be billed by the supplier.

And what's the cost of this on-street-charging convenience to the EV driver? Two pricing options are available. The first sees drivers paying £199 (US$260) for the cable, then £7.99 per month subscription and 15p (19 US cents) per kWh for electricity used. The cable in the second scheme costs £299, but there are no monthly subscription fees to pay. However, users will be charged 19p per kWh.

Kensington and Chelsea Council has already started converting streetlamps in the borough, and expects all of the new charging points to be operational by the end of January 2018.

Source: Ubitricity

3 comments
Lardo
And, of course, there's no reason to worry that some degenerate slug will simply walk by, at 1:00 am, and unplug your precious EV. (Or, worse yet, cut the cord.) Just for giggles.
Vernon Miles Kerr
That's an amazingly clever idea, leave it to those Germans. :) And kudos to London for giving it a try! I'm sure the aforementioned criminal/vandalism risks can be mitigated. How about having a co-ax where the outer layer carries about 50,000 Volts of low-amperage juice to give the vandal a nasty, but harmless surprise.
ljaques
OK, so it would allow you to recharge downtown, but what does juice cost in London homes? It's 14.37p, so cheaper than either option, plus you don't have the £299 cost or the higher electricity price. Unless you live far from London and can't charge overnight, home juicing seems best, and avoids theft/vandalism of cords. I still think in-ground inductive charging is going to be the way of the future.