Shaun Sadlier's blog: Street light chargers could be turning point for EVs
09 March 2017
One of the problems surrounding wider electric vehicle adoption might have been solved with an ingenious and, to my knowledge, fairly recent idea.
The natural habitat of the EV is urban but, in the vast majority of cities, many or most homes don't have driveways where a charger can be installed. However, in Kensington and Chelsea, street lights have recently been adapted to allow them to be used as charging points.
This appears to have been a relatively simple change, with the lights being installed with upgraded fuses and the power paid for using the driver's smartphone. At Arval, we believe this is an excellent idea - it removes the need for specialist charging bays, doesn't require any new street furntiture, and is cheap and convenient.
Vehicle EV capabilities are growing at a rapid pace and it does seem to us that, within a short space of time, growth in their adoption could easily be limited by weaknesses in the charging infrastructure, rather than the cars and vans themselves.
The street light strategy is one way to extend the charging network quickly and easily, allowing wider EV use in cities where zero emissions can make the biggest contribution to improving air quality. The Department for Transport has just made £2.5m available to local authorities for on-street charging, and it would be positive to see some of it spent on this idea.