The Kansas City Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC) will install streetlight-based EV charging stations under a pilot program evaluating curbside charging.

First spotted by photovoltaics industry trade journal PV Magazine, the program calls for installation of 240-volt Level 2 charging stations integrated with streetlight poles at locations throughout the Missouri city.

The program began its design phase in 2018, then ran through a feasibility analysis, which ended in 2020. The MEC is now conducting community outreach and beginning charging-station installations, which are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Charging at these stations will cost the same $0.22 per kilowatt-hour as at existing Kansas City public charging stations, according to an information page on the MEC's website. Usage data will be recorded and analyzed to help inform future charging-infrastructure planning, according to the MEC.

Proposed streetlight charging station for Kansas City (via Kansas City MEC)

Proposed streetlight charging station for Kansas City (via Kansas City MEC)

Streetlight-based charging stations could help address the lack of charging options in urban areas. Most EV owners charge their cars at home, but that isn't an option for apartment dwellers, who may not even have a driveway for garage space to park their cars.

Given the dearth of charging options for apartment-dwellers, this is a solution we'd like to see more widely sanctioned. But while the idea has been around for years, it has failed so far to catch on in any widespread way.

Streetlight charging stations were installed in Lancaster, California, beginning in 2017, and BMW proposed installing them in its headquarters city of Munich in 2014, not long after the i3 electric car launched.

Lightpoles aren't the only way to potentially get EV charging to houses without easy access. Cable boxes are one possibility, as are pop-up stations that retract into the street, helping to keep sidewalks clear.