24 Mar 20

1,300 street lights converted to EV chargers in London

A major residential road in London has become the first street in the UK to offer a comprehensive electric vehicle charging solution for residents who do not have off-street parking.

Siemens and ubitricity have converted 24 lampposts along 800m of Sutherland Avenue, nicknamed ‘Electric Avenue’ to be EV charge points.

Cables and tariffs

Drivers can purchase an ubitricity SmartCable, to access the ubitricity 'SimpleSocket' charger in each converted lamppost. The 4.6kW cable costs £199 while the upgraded 7.4kW cable costs £299.

Sales of the cables are typically bundled with a mobile electricity contract for power from 100% renewable sources. Two contracts are available: a monthly subscription of £7.99 and a unit rate of £0.162/kWh; or no subscription and £0.19/kWh. There is also a plug-in fee per charge of £0.19 for subscribers and £0.29 for pay-on-use customers.

The roadside chargers then monitor each charging event and invoice the driver monthly based on power used and their electricity tariff.

Alternatively, drivers can also use their own standard charging cables and connect via a mobile app that reads the QR code on every lamppost, before being billed on the basis of kWh.

Quick conversion time

Siemens says it takes less than one hour to convert a street lamp, cutting both the cost of deployment and the disruption to residents compared to installing a separate charging station.

Cedrik Neike, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and CEO of Siemens Smart Infrastructure, said: “‘Electric Avenue’ is an important showcase of what’s possible using existing city infrastructure. It illustrates how residential streets will look in the near future, and accelerates the shift to zero emission vehicles.”

Slow charging

The lamppost chargers typically operate at 5.5kW. This means that to recharge a 54kWh Tesla Model 3 standard range battery would take almost 10 hours with the higher grade 7.4kW/32 Amp charging cable.  

Siemens and ubitricity have converted over 1,300 lampposts in London to provide on-street charging. The slow charge solutions provide an answer for EV drivers who cannot install a charge point at their domestic address because they lack a driveway or garage.

Daniel Bentham, Managing Director of ubitricity UK, said: “Lamppost charging gives people without driveways a very convenient, low cost, renewable, energy-friendly way to charge their EVs. Cars spend 95 per cent of their lives idle, so it makes sense to charge them while the driver is doing something else, like sleeping or working. Our technology is designed to keep installation and maintenance costs low, which translates to long-term low costs for EV drivers and councils.”


Authored by: Jonathan Manning