The idea is as clever as it is simple: Ubitricity's EV charging system allows cars to plug into the power source offered by city lampposts. In London, the scheme is already underway, with streetlights around the city transforming into charging points. Could the system be coming to a city near you? Time to take a closer look.
That the future of mobility is electric is no longer a matter for debate: air pollution in cities, carbon emissions from petrol-derived fuels and instability in oil-producing regions are all pressing reasons why a transition to an EV infrastructure powered by renewables is urgently needed.
But, amid range anxiety, a lack of charging infrastructure and the relatively high cost of EVs, most cities (although not all - hello, Oslo!) have still a fair way to go on this journey.
German electric mobility infrastructure provider Ubitricity has come up with an ingenious idea that may just enable the roll out of an economically feasible and scaleable EV charging system, that by relying on existing infrastructure is not just cheaper, but also easier and quicker to implement.
Transforming London Lampposts Into EV Charging Points
In the London boroughs of Hounslow and Richmond, Ubitricity has already been working with the local authorities for some time, converting standard streetlights into charging points for electric vehicles by installing their special socket into the side of lampposts. And because they replace the conventional bulbs with energy-saving LED ones, that means the electricity saved can be used to charge cars instead.
Using a custom charging cable, drivers can simply plug into any of these converted lampposts and start charging their cars – no complicated instruction manuals, no code, easy peasy.
The cable includes a smart meter which records all information about each charge made: the unique location ID (the ID of that particular lamppost), the amount of electricity purchased and the unique cable ID. The data is used for billing purposes, and together with an app and an online platform, it provides users detailed information about their charging transactions - and no doubt all sorts of invaluable information about grid-use to Ubitricity, grid operators and local authorities.
What Makes Ubitricity Different to Other EV Charging Systems?
Probaby the cleverest thing about this idea is the fact that it relies on infrastructure that is already in place and ubiquitous: streetlights. This means no time wasted with planning permission applications, no high set up costs, no disruptive installation work or intrusive pieces of equipment.
Another smart aspect is the e-roaming system that allows customers to use their own green energy tariff regardless of which Ubitricity converted lamppost they may be plugging into - and receiving one single bill at the end rather than a whole bunch from different providers.