Street Light Electric Car Charging Comes To London


We’ve seen lamp post charging before, but this may be the first time a major European city is being used as a test bed for street traffic sign charging. wants to do just that – bring curbside charging to London in the form of low-power, street light-mounted charging stations. CEO Richard Stobart stated:

“Seventy-two percent of drivers in London don’t have off-street parking. If you want an electric car, not being able to charge at home is a major disincentive.”

Similar circumstances exist in major cities around the world.

As Tech Crunch reports:

“If you have a garage with a power socket, an electric car makes an awful lot of sense. If you park on the street, however, the infrastructural challenge of keeping your electron-powered vehicle topped up becomes complicated enough that perhaps sticking to driving on squished dinosaurs makes sense for a while longer. Until comes along, that is.”

Well put…

Stobart adds:

“People want to charge their cars while they are doing something else, preferably when they are parked at home and asleep in their beds.”

But if you park on the street, charging while asleep isn’t always possible. That’s where these street light chargers come in.

As of right now, it’s just a pilot project with the first operational units coming this summer. The big question on everyone’s mind is likely what will it cost? Stobart explains:

“Our vision is that there will be several lampposts near your home with a charge-point that you can park near to charge overnight. We are developing a platform to manage the charging too, using a business model not dissimilar from mobile phone contracts. Users pay a monthly fee for access to the charge points and a free allocation of charge.”

“We are trying to create a win-win solution for everyone, not least local government. We are making it seamless and effectively free for the councils and solving the problem of half of all public charge points being out of service.”

Sounds viable, but time will tell.

Source: Tech Crunch

Categories: Charging


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21 Comments on "Street Light Electric Car Charging Comes To London"

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Excellent idea and pilot. Streetlights already have power at that spot, in a lot of cases you’ll be able to add a 10 amp draw with little upgrade to the wiring.

What costs a lot is ground work. And with the existing 10 lamppost grid on a 10A fuse means you have squat all to charge a car with.

So replacing the existing 5×2.5 with 5×10 so you can attach a 11kW 3x16A charger per post is a costly afair. Someone needs to pay for it, and I doubt the charging provider will want to.

Have you considered replacing the old-fashioned bulb streetlights with an LED lights, freeing most of the existing power capacity for overnight EV charging? The savings in bulb replacement alone covers much of that cost – we’re upgrading the streetlights in my city right now with a reasonable ROI.

Very good point. My city has already upgraded most of its streetlights to LED. They are super bright. The city claims to be ‘saving’ about $700,000 per year on power for them, though that doesn’t include the upfront cost, IINM.

I don’t know what cities use incandescent lighting on streets at wide scale.
Sodium lamps are already up to 200 lm/W efficient, LED doesn’t help much here except providing nicer color.

Curbside charging will never catch on until the manufacturers of EVs have some common sense about where they put the charge ports. In the U.S. many have them on the driver’s side of the vehicle, which makes curb charging impractical (not impossible). Why Tesla continues to put them at the rear of the car is beyond common sense as well.

I’m hoping that in the future EVs will have at least three ports spread around the car.

That would make the i3’s passenger side rear location ideal for curbside charging although many do not like that location.

In Canada we’ve been ‘plugging in’ our block heaters in winter for as long as I can remember (60 years). Most residential parking has a 120V 15A outlet, and if not, a long extension cord (from the house) is a common solution.

Extension cords might do the job,but having them trailing from your house to the car on the street could be a lucrative trip hazard..

Therr is a similar iniciative in Prague, there are two options how to supply the power needed for charging. Either connect it to regular power network or change the cables that power the lights to larger diameter that can handle it, but that is a very long run.

In the UK the charge cable comes in the car and must always be plugged into public EVSEs.
Is cable theft become a problem?

Of course it will!

Well, I can’t vouch for every model of EV out there, but with the Type 2 ‘Mennekes’ on the Renault Zoe, the cable locks into place in both the car and the charger. Unlocking the charge port with the key fob then releases the cable from both ends.

Of course, someone could still cut through the cable…but I don’t know if they’d then be fried or if some breaker would trip.

These types of “locks” unlock with screwdriver:
And all the morons who would steal cables sure would learn how to do it. I don’t know how it would work in practice in higher crime level areas.

Excellent move. Many residents living in apartments/flats who don’t have a garage/shed normally park their cars in streets. Charging from lamp post will help them buy an Electric/Plugin.

Yes these types of solutions look like cost-effective ones – especially if at a 1.4 kw Level 1 rate. One section of block near me just had street lighting installed for the first time, and the 1/2 mile length of road had 15 – 70 watt HPS fixtures installed on each side of the street, with the wiring being 70 ampere, 120/240. Im certain these will be retrofitted to LED lighting in the not so distant future, and even if not, there is plenty of capacity to charge up to ten 12 amp cars at a time. The drop to the furthest lamp post under the worst conditions would be 15 volts as is, and I’ve confirmed by my GM products that the Cars will charge with only 100 volts at the recepticle. I give the illustration to show that even when NO infrastructure is specifically installed for EV’s many times the existing can be made to work. As areas are retrofitted – I’m sure they will re-pull with heavier wiring to make even more car charging economically possible. Where there is no ‘off-the-street’ parking, in general these are in the more congested areas of cities and towns, and the… Read more »

So Berlin is not a major city of europe? Ubitricity is a long time already in Berlin active.

What the article not states is how many charges they will install… So it’s many big talk.

Sorry, but this is simply not going to work.

With such a low rate of charge, an EV driver can’t rely on ‘just hoping’ a point will be available. If you can’t find one you can’t drive your car! The only way it *might* work would be for any one particular EV owner having their own parking spot next to one of these charge points. Anyone else who uses it gets towed (and not just ticketed, either, as the charge point is still blocked).

And that idea will go down like a lead balloon with ICEV drivers in every inner city on the planet.

A much more practical proposition for inner cities is to provide sufficient rapid chargers at places people can spend 30-45 minutes at a time, with their car, once a week or so (like shopping and leisure centre car parks). Even a much cheaper 20kW one would work in this scenario and they can be run off a standard 3 phase 100A supply. But a large supermarket car park is going to need *dozens* of them, not just one or 2… eventually.

Having a stretch of street parking outfitted with curbside receptacles and specially permitted for EV use only should be sufficient. Sure a spot will sometimes get blocked illegally, but as long as there are multiple spots with outlets they will be useful.

Shopping centres could install many low power destination type chargers for the cost of one rapid..which with current usage patterns might well end up ICEd or blocked by someone plugging in and going off with the intention to do their week’s shopping for an hour or more! Rapids aren’t destination chargers..while the car is charging,you have time maybe for a quick errand nearby or a coffee..Current tech cars charge to 80% in about 30 minutes..Staying away longer will tick off anyone waiting their turn longer than 15 minutes after you left..some don’t even have that much patience,and would hit the emergency stop on seeing nobody with the car!