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.
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