UK's first Electric Avenue charges electric cars from streetlamps
A street in the City of Westminster in London has been dubbed Electric Avenue, W9 after Siemens and Ubitricity installed EV charging points in streetlamps, making it the first in the UK where all of its streetlamps have been given double duty.
Research conducted by Siemens found that over a third of British motorists are planning to buy into an electric future by purchasing a hybrid or full electric vehicle as their next car, with 40 percent saying that they would have jumped in sooner if the charging infrastructure was better.
In London, drivers believe that only 100 to 200 charging points are available in total, and many think that it's just not possible to juice up an EV at home or at work. Berlin-based Ubitricity has been converting streetlamps to charging points in the UK's capital since 2015, and together with project partner Siemens now have some 1,300 installations dotted throughout the city.
The technology is installed in existing streetlamp columns, and uses already-available infrastructure, so there's no digging up roads to lay new cables. Electric vehicle users plug a SmartCable into the streetlamp column and the other end is connected to the vehicle, allowing battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to charge overnight outside residences that don't have driveways or garages. An in-cable meter box registers how many kilowatt-hours are used and the customer is billed accordingly.
The City of Westminster has a total of 296 streetlamp charging points in service, but Sutherland Avenue is reported to be the first residential avenue in the UK to have full conversion of its steetlamps. And the two adjoining roads are due to be converted in the coming weeks too. The city council is looking to have a thousand charging points in the inner London borough within the next year.
"In a city that suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the country, we need to be supporting the change to green technology as much as we can," said Councilor Andrew Smith. "Electric Avenue, W9 gives us a glimpse into the future of streets in Westminster, where we hope to provide the infrastructure needed for our residents to make the switch to cleaner, greener transport."