BMW Develops Street Lights With EV Charging Outlets

NOV 13 2014 BY MARK KANE 16

At the Eurocities conference in Munich, Germany, BMW Group introduced the Light and Charge.

It’s a combination of street light and charging point (AC Type 2).

LED technology provides efficient light, while the charging point is integrated into the BMW i’s ChargeNow network.

The first units of Light and Charge already went on-line in Munich:

“Two prototype units are now in service in front of BMW World; BMW will begin a pilot project in Munich in spring 2015 in spring 2015 in Munich that uses a portion of the local lighting network. “

Source: Green Car Congress

Categories: BMW, Charging


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16 Comments on "BMW Develops Street Lights With EV Charging Outlets"

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This is a great idea for parking lots. I assume most were wired with thick enough gauge wire to support an EVSE + LED lighting. The big cost for adding EVSEs at businesses is not the unit cost, but install. A system like this that greatly reduces install cost and pays for itself in electric cost for lighting is a homerun.

Agreed. Well thought out.

And even if it is level 1 charging, it can be extremely useful.

Especially at an airport, hotel, office building. Someplace you’ll be for a good portion of a day.

Let’s just hope no one steals the cords or trips over them.
The other problem is, the street light might get dimmer. I’m pretty sure, the wiring on those lights aren’t sufficient to supply enough current to power multiple cars. If the wiring needs to be redone anyway, then it makes sense to put the outlets in a more convenient place, like on the curb.

But really, this is again a waste of money and hack. The real fix should be more DC fast chargers. For city EV cars, 20 mins charge for 50-60 miles is more than enough to cover 99% of use cases.

The cords in Europe are removable. They take their own J1772 cables with them and plug into the socket on the EVSE. It’s a good model to reduce theft and permanent damage. Too bad we didn’t adopt the same model over here.

Not sure we will be seeing those in the US anytime soon, unless BMW has designed around or licensed Chargepoint’s patents on the same concept:

Given that street lights with electrical outlets have been in existance for decades. Those claims should be unenforceable for obviousness.

err, invalid.


Many municipalities pay flat rate for street lighting, they’re not going to spend the money to switch to metering, or pay an increased flat rate for an unknown electricity use.

Unless these units meter themselves and can report to a central server, in which case it’s a great idea. Switching old orange lights for LED would provide a decent amount of excess electricity capacity.
Only issue I see is if they install a bunch on a street and all are in use at once. They could likely only do a very small number as retrofit without upgrading the power lines.

What you call “old orange lights” are sodium-vapor lamps, aka LPS or SOX. They are incredibly efficient, reaching 200 lumen/watt, much more than even the best LEDs thus far.

They’re only being replaced because some people dislike their color, and because high-end LED lights can now last longer (sodium bulbs are typically rated for 18’000 hours).

They’re ‘efficient’, but definitely not effective.
One street behind me has converted to white LEDs and you can actually SEE at night.
Turn the corner and there’s just disgusting orange and you can barely see anything.
Even if LED required more power per lumen, but the lights were actually effectively aimed and appropriate colour, you would in theory need less lumens to get better sight.

From the studies I have read on the local implementation, they’re showing a significant reduction in energy use with the new lights over the old. So it’s a win-win all around.
Though not much energy to spare for EVs.

This reminds me of a concept made by a Berlin startup company.
They claim to transform any street light into a mode 2 mennekes charger for under 500€. It comes with a special cord with integrated counter so you pay for the exact amount of kWh you put in your car.
I think the idea is revolutionary and the idea of “you don’t need to charge fast if you can charge anywhere” has something to it! It’s a good urban solution.

The company is called ubitricity :

Problem is, in the states we don’t send 3 phase power to our street lights, and more and more people are objecting to ‘smart metering’.

Ontario is going to smart metering province wide, since the level of public objection is apparently no where near as high, or else there is a smoldering resentment building which I only hear bits and pieces of, but it isn’t to the extent to have prevented the smart meter installation programs which have already substantially occurred.

Such is *NOT* the case as a rule in the USA, outside of California, that is.

Who do I contact from BMW to get information on this EV charger street light.