Research by Siemens found that more than a third of British motorists are planning to buy a hybrid or all-electric car as their next car, with 40 per cent saying they would buy more quickly if the charging infrastructure was better. Now Siemens has teamed up with Ubitricity to install EV charging points on streetlights in London’s Westminster, making it the first street in the UK where streetlights are given dual responsibilities.
In London, drivers think there are only 100 to 200 charging points available. Berlin-based Ubitricity has been converting street lights into charging points since 2015 and is now installing about 1,300 charging facilities across London, along with project partner Siemens.
The technology is installed in existing lampposts and uses the infrastructure already available, so there is no need to dig roads to lay new cables. Electric car users plug SmartCable into a streetlight and connect to the car at the other end, allowing electric cars and plug-in hybrids to charge overnight on the street without lanes or garages. The meter box in the cable records how many kWh stoic slots are used and charges the customer accordingly.
There are currently 296 streetlight charging points in use in Westminster, but Sutherland Avenue is reported to be the first fully converted residential road in the UK. Two adjacent roads will also be converted in the coming weeks. The city council hopes to build 1,000 such charging stations in central London within the next year.