Ubitricity street lamp socket provides electric-car charging


A German company has brought forth its idea of how to provide convenient, cost-effective electric-car charging and now it has made its way to the United Kingdom.

Ubitricity rolled out its streetlight car charging ports two years ago, but the German company has now spread its innovation to the UK.

In a recent video, the Fully Charged Show takes a look at how the streetlight charging station works and how easy it is for plug-in vehicle drivers to use.

DON'T MISS: Ubitricity: German Charging Cord For Wall Sockets Includes Billing

It's especially helpful in West London—where the video was shot—narrator Robert Llewellyn suggests, since there aren't many electric-car charging stations in the area.

The UK is also much denser than the United States by nature, which means charging stations can get crowded quickly.

In practice, drivers interested in the service receive a charging cable from Ubitricity that contains all necessary metering and billing information capability for a fee of about $1,280.

Ubitricity electric-car charging cord

Ubitricity electric-car charging cord

Enlarge Photo

From there, it's plug and play. The driver simply parks the car on the street and plugs it into the properly-equipped streetlight.

An owner interviewed in the video says he has spent around $165 total for the extra electricity he has drawn from the streetlight.

And the Ubitricity plug works with a variety of street-light posts as well.

READ THIS: Car buyers have no idea electric-car charging stations even exist

The company has installed the sockets on heritage posts in older London neighborhoods and in brand new, LED street lamps.

The LED lamps use less energy, so they can provide more charging capability for owners.

The idea is attracting attention because it requires very little investment in new infrastructure, which is an issue for cities like London that aim to add large numbers of emission-free vehicles quickly.

Ubitricity electric-car charging cord

Ubitricity electric-car charging cord

Enlarge Photo

The lamp-post outlet isn't DC fast-charging, of course, meaning it will add only a few miles each hour.

It's targeted more for overnight or full-day parking than for quick recharges during a shopping visit, for example.

While the car is charging, the Ubitricity software locks the cable in place so a passer-by can't remove the cable while the owner is away.

CHECK OUT: Electric car charging: the basics you need to know (updated)

As demand for electric cars surges in coming years, the perception among some buyers that little public charging infrastructure exists needs to be addressed.

Solutions like this Ubitricity street lamp would seem to be one way cities can meet the challenges associated with providing that infrastructure quickly and cost-effectively, especially in residential neighborhoods with street parking.

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this story suggested that the Ubitricity charging cord had no lock feature, as reported in other media. That is incorrect. Our reader William pointed out the error, and we've updated the article.

[hat tips: Clarence Dold, Michael Jorde]

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