Street lamp charging network to power EVs in central London

Electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities which draw on 100% renewable energy from street lamp posts are set to be placed on the streets of Kensington and Chelsea, creating the largest network of its kind in central London.

A project between the borough council and tech companies OVO and ubitricity will fast track the installation of 50 charging points, it was announced today (13 November).

Following a trial earlier this year, ubitricity’s SimpleSockets will now be available next to pay and display parking bays 24 hours a day.

The charge points will help cater for a growing demand for EV charging facilities in the area, Kensington and Chelsea Councillor Gerard Hargreaves said.

“Most residents do not have access to off-street parking to charge an electric vehicle,” he said. “Retro-fitting street lamps with charging technology allows drivers to conveniently charge their vehicles closer to home, while helping to tackle air pollution in London.

“Lamp post charging is also more cost-effective and much less obtrusive as the charging points require no additional street furniture.”

Removing barriers

Half of Londoners are put off purchasing an EV due to a lack of charging infrastructure, according to research commissioned by OVO.

The company’s solution is marketed as affordable as well as accessible – it comes with a low tariff of £0.165/kWh of electricity. The new charge points will be installed from this month and are expected to be operational by the end of January 2018.

Customers have two pricing options to access the network: either purchase a cable with an inbuilt electricity meter for £199 and join ubitricity’ s monthly subscription scheme for £7.99 per month with a charge of 15p/kWh for electricity used, or buy a cable for £299 with no monthly subscription and a 19p/kWh charge.

Additional charges of £1 for each charging session and a fee of £1/hour after the first 24 hours of being plugged will be in place to stop people leaving their vehicle plugged in longer than necessary, and to maximise the number of vehicles that can be charged from each lamp column, OVO said. 

OVO head of EVs Tom Pakenham said: “We want to remove barriers to electric vehicle adoption by providing innovative, simple and widely available urban charging solutions at a cost well below that of running a traditional car, and by giving people more control over their total energy usage.”

Charging revolution

Pakenham confirmed that OVO will launch a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charger in 2018 that will enable customers to sell energy to the grid from their EVs.

This technology has already been trialled by Japanese car manufacturer Nissan. Last year, Nissan partnered with Italian energy company Enel to develop 100 new V2G energy storage units in London that bring together vehicles, roads and energy networks in “complete synchronicity”. 

Nissan has claimed that EV charging station numbers would overtake petrol stations in 2020 and Shell is already opening a range of rapid charging service systems across its UK petrol stations.

In fact, the UK is in the early days of an infrastructure evolution. The Greater London Authority (GLA) and Transport for London (TfL) have allocated £4.5m to 25 London boroughs to roll-out 1,500 new charging points. Last month, the UK Government published its Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, which requires large petrol retailers and motorway services to install charging points.

George Ogleby

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie