When Hounslow Council switched out its streetlights, it put the energy it saved to good use.
The global fleet of electric vehicles grew 60% last year and, while predictions vary, some people claim that we'll all be driving (or riding in) electric vehicles within just a few decades.
But in many cities, one major impediment could slow down adoption: Where the heck do you charge your car if you don't have a driveway or garage?
Hounslow Council in London has implemented an interesting—and aesthetically pleasing—solution to this problem. It has converted its streetlights to energy efficient LEDs and, in doing so, is integrating electric vehicle charging points in the base of those streetlamps. The charge points themselves come from German company Ubitricity, and they integrate with a custom charging cable, which is ordered by the EV owner/driver and has an electricity meter built in.
So if you happen to live in Hounslow, you simply request a charging point from your council and they install three near your house. (They are trying to avoid painting dedicated electric vehicle bays.) You then order an Ubitricity cable, plug in, and start charging. Ubitricity then sends you a monthly bill, charged at a competitive rate of £0.13 per kWh. And that's it.
It's a pretty neat solution. I like the fact that the council is building them out with several sockets per request, hopefully encouraging friends and neighbors to get on the electric vehicle wagon, too. Given the fact that London's air pollution laws/vehicle restrictions are only likely to get stricter in the future, it makes sense for councils to be building the infrastructure out now.
Check out Robert Llewellyn's report on Ubitricity below. And if you like what he's doing, please consider supporting Fully Charged through Patreon.