As an increasing number of people are opting for electric vehicles in search of cleaning their environmental footprint, cities are facing the challenge of finding ways to install charging infrastructure on their streets without having to severely disrupt current urban layouts. In London, however, it seems that the city has found a rather classy solution.
Recently, a street in the City of Westminster in London has been dubbed Electric Avenue, after tech companies Siemens and Ubitricity installed EV charging points in streetlamps, making it the first in the UK where all of its streetlamps have been given double duty.
Berlin-based Ubitricity has been converting streetlamps to charging points in the UK’s capital since 2015, and together with project partner Siemens now has some 1,300 installations dotted throughout the city.
The technology is installed in existing street lamp columns and uses already-available infrastructure, so there’s no digging up roads to lay new cables. Electric vehicle users plug a SmartCable into the streetlamp column and the other end is connected to the vehicle, allowing electric and hybrid vehicles to charge overnight outside residences that don’t have driveways or garages. An in-cable meter box registers how many kilowatt-hours are used and the customer is billed accordingly.
With the city council planning to give hundreds more streetlamps double purpose within the next year, more people are expected to tune into the green vehicle revolution and potentially help the city breathe cleaner air.