Siemens, in partnership with EV charging company ubitricity, has converted all 24 lamp posts along Sutherland Avenue — all one kilometer of it — in the Westminster section of London to serve as EV charging stations. Now that the work has been completed, there are over 300 EV chargers in Westminster, according to a Siemens press release. Soon the partners will begin converting lamp posts on adjoining streets as well.
The project was inspired by a study conducted by Siemens that showed 36% of British drivers plan on buying a plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicle as their next car. 40% of people said a lack of charging infrastructure is keeping them from making such a purchase at the present time.
“Electric Avenue, W9 showcases a shift in attitudes towards EVs that Britain’s capital is experiencing,” Siemens says. “Data shows 80 per cent of motorists in central London believe it is ‘very important’ that air quality is improved and 83 per cent have become more concerned about their carbon footprint in the past five years. Westminster has seen a 40 per cent growth in EVs charged in the borough during 2019.”
Westminster now has 296 lamp post EV chargers. There are plans to reach a thousand charge points across Westminster City Council within the next year because the neighborhood has more registered EVs than any other inner London borough. Siemens and ubitricity have now completed more than 1,300 installations throughout the City, thanks in large part to London’s Go Ultra Low Cities funding plan.
“We know that half of London’s air pollution is caused by road transport and Westminster is a particularly busy area,” says Cedrik Neike, CEO of Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “While we cannot solve the challenge of air quality overnight, Electric Avenue W9 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.”
Andrew Smith, Westminster city council member in charge of Environment & Highways, says, “In a city that suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the country, we need to be supporting the change to green technology as much as we can. Electric Avenue, W9 gives us a glimpse into the future of streets in Westminster, where we hope to provide the infrastructure needed for our residents to make the switch to cleaner, greener transport.”
Research conducted by Siemens reveals that many motorists think there are only about 200 EV charging points in London — just 10% of the actual number. One-third believe there are no EV charging points near their home or workplace. “Lamp post 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,” says Daniel Bentham, managing director of ubitricity UK.
“As the petrol and diesel car ban draws closer and London boroughs work to improve our air quality, we’re excited to have completed our first fully converted avenue,” says Bernard Magee, sales director of future grid at Siemens. “Our partnership with ubitricity to convert lampposts for charging EV and hybrid vehicles is one of many initiatives Siemens is undertaking to help future proof our roads and help drivers make better choices when it comes to travel.”
There are a lot of lamp posts in cities around the world. Converting a significant number of them to support EV charging could go a long way toward easing the anxiety people feel about owning an electric car. They also provide the perfect opportunity to employ smart grid technologies that manage the electrical grid to reduce peak demand, which can eliminate the need for new power plants.