Chargers Attached To Streetlight Poles Come To California

1 month ago by Mark Kane 28

The city of Lancaster, California is pioneering streetlight charging station applications in North America, alongside German company Ebee Smart Technologies.

Ebee Smart Technologies’s streetlight charging station in City of Lancaster, CA

Recently, five streetlights were equipped with charging stations along the city’s popular central downtown destinations.

The project was possible thanks to grant from the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District (AVAQMD), which covers 80% of the total cost – including installation, operations and maintenance, as well as five years of data collection.

The remaining balance (20%) comes from private sponsors (include ebee Smart Technologies’ partners, EasyCharge and eluminocity – the company which created the outer housing of the charging units).

“These charging units are made by ebee Smart Technologies, whose innovative controller technology makes installing public and semi-public charging cheaper, faster, and more flexible by incorporating charging units into existing infrastructure, such as streetlights. Already a market leader in Europe, with approximately 10,000 controllers installed in EV charging units throughout the European Union (EU), ebee Smart Technologies holds a key to accelerating advanced clean transportation in California, as well as internationally.”

ebee Smart Technology CEO Dr. Henning Heppner, who traveled from Berlin, Germany for the ceremony said:

“We bring knowledge from decades in the international automotive industry and have applied it to make installing state-of-the-art EV charging technology simpler and more cost-effective for cities and workplaces. We’re excited to bring our solutions to North America and to partner with the City of Lancaster on realizing their vision for a more sustainable community.”

Ebee Smart Technologies’s streetlight charging station

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said:

“The City of Lancaster’s sustainability platform thrives on integrating new technologies – that are not only leading the way for sustainable industry advancement, but also offering affordable options, such as these charging units which can be utilized by nearly any infrastructure base for the benefit of many. Our goal is to not only better our environment, but to increase the overall quality of life for our residents. I am continuously astonished by all of the wonderful ideas coming to fruition and making ‘greener’ living tangible for communities around the globe. There are no more excuses for not transitioning to clean energy resources.”

“As municipal leaders, we understand and embrace the value of public-private partnerships, both domestically and abroad. The City of Lancaster is at the forefront of alternative energy developments because of our commitment to progress through innovation and collaboration. This is evidenced by our many successes with companies such as BYD and KB Home. We could not be more excited about this new venture with ebee Smart Technologies, and are looking forward to the ongoing deployment of EV charging stations throughout our City.”

source: Lancaster Choice Energy

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28 responses to "Chargers Attached To Streetlight Poles Come To California"

  1. SparkEV says:

    I rarely see public L2 used if it’s not free. If it’s free, it’s used 100%, unable to use it unless you win the lotto.

    I suspect these will suffer the same fate: paid to use means practically no one will use them. Make them free, and you’d have better luck winning the lottery than finding them available.

    1. SparkEV, remember that old saying:
      “The Early Bird Gets the Worm!”
      First in Line, Front of the Line, Seniority, etc., are all challenges for those coming behind!

      1. SparkEV says:

        Problem with free charging is that the line never ends. I saw an EV plugged into mall’s free charging spot at 2 AM when everything’s closed. Unless you’re the very first person to use the charger when it started operation, there is no line, and there is no worm for the early bird.

    2. ziv says:

      Here in Northern Virginia, there are a few free L2 charging stations and they are surprisingly usable with few free loaders. My favorite free charger though, has been down for 6 months and the shopping center manager shows no signs of wanting to get them back in operating order.
      I tell the grocery manager and the cafe managers that I used to shop/eat there more often, but don’t any longer since the chargers aren’t working, but it hasn’t been enough to get the work done on the chargers.
      In general, I think that free anything frequently suffers from “the tragedy of the commons” where the free good is over used by a minority of the population.

      1. Nick says:

        Need to have Clipper Creek stations installed. They are super reliable.

        Free stations are more likely to be working in my experience, since they don’t have as many things to go wrong. In the Pacific Northwest, I’ve been super lucky. Almost never waiting for others at charging stations except for a couple of stations which are the only ones in long driving corridors. If there are many, the stations are available.

        The only people who attempt to hog them are Uber and Lyft drivers. I’m super glad they are using EVs for all these miles and not heavily polluting ICE beaters. I hope we can keep building the charge stations faster than demand rises.

        Thanks!

        1. ziv says:

          The EVGo station near me is usually full of some delivery company’s Leafs. But it really wasn’t seeing much use until the delivery company bought the Leafs, so no harm, no foul.

          I kind of like the stations that require a Chargepoint card but don’t charge, it keeps the riff raff out most of the time. Especially if they are located in the back of the parking lot instead of the prime, up front spots.

    3. Mikael says:

      They need to be outside peoples home for those who don’t have a dedicated parking spot.

    4. speculawyer says:

      I’ve seen plenty of for-pay charging used. I’ve often lamented the fact that all the chargers are occupied.

  2. WARREN says:

    I have actually had decent luck finding available Volta chargers at the Oxnard Collection and Northridge Fashion Mall. AND for paid Evgo Freedom stations, I’m have been very pleased to find available DCQC available at the gorgeous Americana at Brand in Glendale, where they have 2 Freedom stations.

  3. Bsweet says:

    I have had bad luck with pay ev stations my self. so bad I have never used one and I have tried it’s funny that the government has a better Business model then a business . I can easily walk up to a parking meter and pay with a credit card or change in my pocket . But that would be way too easy of a system for all these EV charging companies

    1. speculawyer says:

      Well, parking meters get FAR more usage so it is easier for them.

      BTW, you can pay with most public chargers by credit card if you don’t have their RFID car but you will generally need to call them up.

  4. GreenMD says:

    I’m not completely certain, but it looks like the photo is a standard Prius ICEing the new plug in spot. I don’t see a charge port on the passenger side rear.

    1. mustang_sallad says:

      Yeah, that is indeed a standard HEV prius, pretty funny!

      This could be a good option for neighbourhoods with a lack of off-street parking, less so for commercial streets in my opinion.

      Also, it’d be interesting to see the electrical details. In my experience, street lighting circuits don’t have much capacity to spare, even with a switch to LED. They might have had to add extra copper, although I suppose it’s still an attractive solution in terms of the necessary street furniture and not needing to add an extra piece of equipment bolted to the sidewalk.

    2. WARREN says:

      But doesnt the PHEV Prius have the port on the drivers side fender?

      1. bhtooefr says:

        Nope, it’s passenger side rear:

        Also, instead of the “HYBRID” badges on the fenders, it says “PLUG-IN HYBRID”.

    3. speculawyer says:

      LOL! Nice catch! 😀

  5. Don Zenga says:

    Every city, state, nation should encourage this concept so that they get some money by renting the street light pole.

    L2 charger is good enough as it can charge 30% of the vehicle in 1 hour and it’s common for many to park their vehicle for at least an hour.

  6. TM says:

    I’d park closer to the pole. I can see someone coming through on a bicycle and having a bad spill.

    1. DJ says:

      Sadly in our society this has to be a concern. I really wonder who/when the 1st lawsuit will be.

      But your honor they should have made the cord bright orange with flashing LED lights on it as I couldn’t see it in the dark and so I fell and broke my hip while I was scrolling through my FB feed on my phone… oops they should probably leave the last part out.

  7. Bill Howland says:

    Curiously absolutely no info as to the maximum charging rate of these things.

    Re: The discussion of free vs. Pay public charging – if an Area has confiscatory electric rates, EV owners seem to flock to the free charger docking stations.

    My area in general has reasonably priced electricity, therefore most of the docking stations are NEVER used even if free. And of course the very rare PAY stations are never ever used – both because it costs so little to charge at home.

    Where there is a line for the free charger facility – I’m sure the area has confiscatory pricing for the setup at home.

  8. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    Expect these parking spots to be camped on for at least 6hrs a day.
    It doesn’t mention whether it’s 120V or 240V or the amperage so my guess is L1 120VAC.

    Sparky up top is correct. Freebies are a lottery chance you get into a spot.

    But if you think about it, if these things were L1, the best you’ll get is ~1200W and if you’re there only 1-2hrs, is it really worth it? These would be trickle chargers at best on L1 thus requiring at least 6hrs to make it worth while.

  9. hpver says:

    A whole lot of marketing speak but little real info. Do they take credit cards? Membership? Are they L2 or L1, and if so what max amperage? How much will charging cost? Will there be Ev-only signage.

    I guess I’ll wait for Plugshare as usual for information that’s actually useful.

  10. speculawyer says:

    Street pole lights are not going to work as good in the USA as they do in Europe due to 120V lines instead of 240V lines. But they can still be very useful. They can give enough charge for a typical commute overnight.

    1. Djoni says:

      We also have 347 volt light pole up in Canada, much more powerful but no charger can handle it (at L2)
      And there is even more powerfull three phases all around north america, but no car sold there can charge with it.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        “We have 347 volts”

        Yes you do, and I was always curious as to how SuperChargers were handled, (I was told it was a transformer – but that is expensive, lossy, and takes up real estate).

        When I finally saw a Coral-less one, I saw 4 little ‘concrete-shaped’ autotransformers transforming each of the 3 phases from 347 to 277′ (8 stall SC obviously).

        For a street light pole its even easier. Go out to your corner electric distributor and buy a 240 pri 120 secondary dinky transformer. The KVA rating may be 1/3 of the size of the wallbox it is feeding.

    2. Bill Howland says:

      “Only have 120 volt streetlights”.

      Not necessarily, and the majority of the time there is 240 volts in the base anyway.

      Only Non-Electricians and Europeans think distribution in North America is 120 volts.

      Now Onto Electrician Djoni:

  11. Spider-Dan says:

    This is a useful first step, but the billing mechanism is an issue.

    – if there is no billing (i.e. fully subsidized), it’s not sustainable at a large scale

    – if there is billing, the net cost is unlikely to be price-competitive with gasoline

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Spider-Dan:

      Assuming the utility just supplies the electricity here and is not involved in the wall boxes at all, this still can be handled on retrofits with a Revenue Billing meter feeding everything.

      The individual wallbox in the streetlight base would have to handle the billing itself, via credit card, or chipcard, similar to those 1, 2 or 4 banger Aerovironment ‘apartment kiosk’ things (16 amperes 1-ph @ 200-240 volts per cord).

      As you say its not a perfect solution, but in areas with reasonable electricity rates, the EV charging provider should still eek out a gain, but its best for some downtown areas of cities where there is no off street parking at all, and something is better than nothing. If this is primarily overnight charging, then even smaller facilities are good enough.

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