In London, streetlights are being transformed into charging stations for electric vehicles.
Developed by the German company Ubitricity, this solution for owners of electric vehicles consists of a personalized charging cable with an integrated electricity meter. The system offers two options: plug directly into streetlights equipped with a special socket, or plug into inexpensive and adaptable wall-mounted electrical sockets installed on buildings by municipalities or private companies. Once a user has signed up online, they will receive their own cable. Their monthly bill is sent by email, indicating their kWh consumption. Filling up a Tesla Model S, for example, would cost £13 or approximately C$21, which would allow the driver to travel just over 680 kilometres.
Intrigued by this technology, London has just launched a pilot project in the neighbourhood of Hounslow. By using existing electrical infrastructure, the city can avoid additional clutter on the streets, and save a significant amount of time and money related to installing charging stations and parking spots for electric vehicles. There are other cost savings as well: Ubitricity estimates that cities will be able to lower their electricity costs by up to 90% by reselling their surplus to residents.
In addition to London, this innovative solution has been implemented in some areas of Berlin. The company believes its solution will eliminate the need for dedicated charging stations, which are both expensive and take up a lot of space.
In Germany, Ubitricity is partially funded by the ministry of economics and technology. On its website, it states that if all streetlights were equipped with this technology, the German government would be able to reach its charging infrastructure target. The company also states that 300,000 streetlights are changed or modernized every year: therefore, it would simply be a matter of adding the electrical sockets to this schedule to make these economic and space-saving gains a reality.