How About Charging Your Electric Car From A Lamppost?

OCT 11 2018 BY EVANNEX 22

CHARGING YOUR ELECTRIC VEHICLE FROM A LAMPPOST HAS BECOME A THING IN LONDON

If you’re a suburban dweller, you may not see what the big deal is about charging infrastructure. You spend a few hundred bucks to install an EV charger in your garage or driveway, and Bob’s your uncle – charging is as convenient as plugging in every evening when you get home. However, millions of apartment-dwellers around the world, many of them affluent, eco-conscious consumers who would love to buy an electric car, rely on street parking, and for them, the issue of charging is a major obstacle to going electric. The poster city for this problem is London, where some 78% of households have no private parking spaces.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: Tesla Model S parks on a city street looking for a charge (Image: planphilly)

A startup called char.gy has a possible solution: installing chargers in lamp posts. Earlier this year, the company installed some of its open-access charge points in Marlow, near London. Now Transport for London (TfL) has added char.gy’s lamppost-based charging system to its EV Charging Infrastructure Procurement Framework, a system that connects equipment suppliers with local borough governments. The new framework aims to install 1,150 on-street EV charge points across London by the end of 2020.

Above: A close-up view of the sleek, inconspicuous, char.gy electric vehicle charging unit (Image: char.gy)

Through the framework, char.gy offers local councils access to an online portal that allows them to monitor the charging units and perform remote software upgrades. The char.gy smart charging units are designed to fit almost all lamp posts and provide up to 7.7 kW of power. Users can choose either a pay-as-you-go or a monthly subscription-based pricing plan.

Above: An all-electric Renault Zoe takes advantage of char.gy on the city streets in London (Image: char.gy)

“We see this as a big step in reducing vehicle emissions across London, a very important step in the government’s Road to Zero strategy,” said Richard Stobart, CEO of char.gy. “Our easy-to-install charging units provide a cost-effective EV charging infrastructure for councils using 700,000 lampposts across the capital. As well as being financially advantageous to the councils, our charging service is also reasonably priced for their residents.”

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Written by: Charles Morris; This article originally appeared in Charged; Note: British residents who are interested in lamp post charging are encouraged to reach out and request a char.gy charging unit for their own neighborhood.

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

Categories: Charging

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22 Comments on "How About Charging Your Electric Car From A Lamppost?"

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Davek

Cool idea! Is the electrical tape standard?

This is the kind of thing that should be mandated in all new or repaired lampposts. And they should bloody well charge by the kWh, at least for the first 24 hours.

Joe J

Even a simple 120v level 1 outlet would be good enough to allow many people to convert to electric. Hopefully this trend picks up. Practically anywhere there’s electricity, there can be a charger.

Amy K

This is the UK where everything is 220v, not the US where it’s 120v. Making your point even more viable. Having a device like char.gy instead of a regular outlet allows the lamp post owner to charge for the electricity rather than giving it away to whomever plugs in.

Davek

Even better then! 220V at 10A is enough to charge for most people’s commute over the course of a workday.

vdiv

In the US most street lights are 277V (one phase of 3-phase 480V) to make the wiring feasible over longer distances and making it impossible to directly charge most EVs. Also the wiring is sized for the lights, would not scale for charging multiple EVs, especially at night when the lights are on.

Bill Howland
That’s nonsense. Many streets don’t even have 3-phase for several blocks, and the policy of my utility is NOT to provide 277 volt single phase. It depends on what community you are in. In my area – once they got rid of the series string 2400 volt system, all the replacement streetlights are 120 volts only, and the wattage is greatly decreasing also -the last incantation of Sodium Vapors lowered the wattage to 250 per light on major thoroughfares, and 70 watts on side streets. Pending conversion to LED technology will be 55 and 20 watts per light. Most handholes at the base of the street lights in any place recently wired have both 120 and 240 volts available, but the wiring would only be heavy enough for one or 2 cars at a time on the whole street, and any larger penetration than this would require a rewiring. But rewiring is a low-cost option – and since my municipality wants to purchase the street lighting infrastructure from the utility anyway, Revenue Meters will be installed at the feed points, which would be necessary to implement EV charging in any event. Not a big deal since the Cable Company –… Read more »
Derek

“But rewiring is a low-cost option”
That’s of course assuming the pipe is big enough for additional (or larger) wires.

Hitachi

If you look at lamp post manufacturers, some are working on installing fully integrated chargers in the lampposts.
So, soon this may be really common in areas where new posts are installed.

By fully integrating them, they should be able to make installation costs almost identical to a normal lamppost installation. They will also look better, be cheaper and probably better protected (from vandals).

F150 Brian

Those long cords laying around on the ground is messy and could be a tripping hazard.
EV makers need to integrate a Glendinning Cablemaster.
We use them on boats to plug into shorepower and they’re awesome!

=j

By my understanding, most British EVSE don’t have an integrated cable. You are expected to bring your own. This makes for a cleaner install of the EVSE. But it also makes cable theft a thing.

Davek

Cables are locked to the car and the charger as long as the car is locked. So no, it isn’t really that much of a thing AFAIK. Unless the thieves want a broken cable.

DL

Too bad many EVs have the charge port located on the driver’s side of the car. It’ not practical to have the connector hanging out into the traffic lane.

=j

The charging cable doesn’t hang out much farther than the mirror, in my experience. Though mirrors fold… charging cables don’t.

Leeper

I’m curious how the old posts have large enough wire to support 7kW. Do they have to upgrade the wiring during the install?

Davek

Switch the lamp from gas discharge to LED and you should have some power to play with. 2 kW or so should be enough for most cases. We’re not talking about fast charging here, this is a trickle for people who want to park for hours.

Bill Howland

In my area, yeah…… but 7 kw is really a lot of juice if the car is going to be there overnight, and one question to be asked is does the municipality really care to provide 300 miles of range to EVERY CAR on the street charging?

The municipality may decide on a MUCH MUCH smaller figure (since the avg drive supposedly of an ev is around 30 miles per day) – and the Municipality may figure that they are only trying to provide a % of the juice someone needs every day. They can get the rest at the supermarket or the parking lot at work.

I’m sure apartment dwellers who are seriously considering a PHEV or BEV vehicle would take the 30 miles per night ‘service’ as right now they have ZERO miles per night ability.

bro1999

I charged my Bolt from a lamppost once at a hotel I was staying at. Just 120V charging though. And the lamppost was only powered when it turned on at night, which only gave me a 9-10 hour window to charge overnight, since it was the middle of summer.
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Bill Howland

I do that also at the 1-star motels I typically stay at, and usually find an unused 120 volt outlet in horrible shape that everyone has forgotten about – except in my case I hide the charging cord and use a green extension cord. It usually works out that the 40 mile per day range I get out of my 2014 Caddy ELR is just about right, as the car is charging at its full 12 amperes (1.3 kw) almost all the time I’m there, since I’ll go out in the evening after I’ve recouped an hour of charge.

I always ask permission at the front desk, saying ‘my battery is a bit low – do you mind if I use my battery charger’? They to date have always said ‘its ok’, as long as I don’t cause a tripping hazard.

Alex

Excellent idea, it seems cheap and a solution without cluttering even more city streets.

Assaf

Aren’t there German cities where this is already part of the municipal policy? I vaguely recall seeing stories about that here a couple years ago.

William

These lamp post free chargers, that are supplied by the Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power, here in So. Cal., sometimes are unbolted, and removed by vandals and thieves, here on the Pacific Coast Highway. Example: PCH/Avalon Bl., right in front of McDonalds.

Al D

Just what vandals need – something new to vandalize.