Rolling out more EV charging infrastructure has always been a difficult task. Installing new chargers is very costly. But there’s already a source of power right at the side of the street, lamp posts. And a street in London has had 24 lamp posts converted for EV charging. Let’s take a walk down to Electric Avenue, W9.

Quick and easy installation

The biggest advantage of lamp post EV charging is the ease of installation. Installing a standard EV charging station can cost thousands of dollars. Most parking spots don’t just have a high voltage power socket right next to them. But adding EV charging to a lamp post is easy, it already has power.

Ubitrcity has made this process even easier with its MobileCharging system. Essentially this system puts the “brains” of a charging station into the charging cable. Siemens worked with ubitricity to install charging stations on 24 lamp posts along Sutherland Avenue in London, now coined Electric Avenue, W9. They say nearby streets will also be electrified in the coming weeks.

Lamppost charging seems like an excellent solution for residential charging in densely populated cities. Many people living in apartments and townhouses don’t have access to EV charging. Giving easily accessible charging on the street will allow far more people to make the switch to electric.

This comes with the drawback that drivers will have to bring their own cable. You can order one from ubitricity for £199.00. This does honestly kinda suck. But this one cable will give you access to hundreds of charging stations all across the UK.

But buying yourself a cable is a small price to pay for more EV chargers. Using this mobile charging approach and utilizing existing infrastructure can massively drop the cost of installation. Siemens says their lamp post chargers are 38% cheaper than normal rapid chargers.

Our take

To me, lamp post charging seems like a very clear trade-off. Having to buy a special cable to charge puts a huge barrier in the way. But the loss of convenience could be offset by having more chargers. It seems massively cheaper and easier to install these chargers.

I think the real problem here is charging standardization. With so many EV charging companies competing consumers have to choose a charging network. But I can’t imagine a more grim future than going on a road trip only to find one of the charging stations I planned to use requires a proprietary charging cable.

I love the approach of mobile charging stations. The savings they bring are undeniable and could allow for far more aggressive rollouts of EV chargers. But without a standard for them, they just complicate the EV charging ecosystem. I want auto manufacturers and EV charging companies to all get together and come up with a single mobile charging station standard to come with all EVs. Fuel pumps all work the same, why do EV chargers have to be different?

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