One of the frequently-cited problems with electric cars is a lack of places to charge up when you’re away from home. Rather than create an entire standalone network, BMW is looking to combine charging docks with another common, electricity-powered street fixture: lampposts. According to a Reuters report, BMW has developed two prototypes that meld a LED street light with electric car-charging sockets. In principle, the idea makes perfect sense: street lamps are an already-existing piece of infrastructure which already have the necessary cables inside. Adding a charging port should be simple, and make using an electric car as an around-town runabout that little bit more practical.
BMW has developed street lights equipped with sockets to charge electric cars, it said on Friday, and will run a pilot project in Munich next year that uses existing local authority lighting networks. BMW said it has made two prototype “Light and Charge” street lights which combine efficient Light Emitting Diodes (LED) with the company’s ChargeNow recharging stations for electric cars. “Seamless charging infrastructure is essential if we want to see more electric vehicles on the road in our cities in the future,” Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said. The Munich pilot will install the first charging lights, which can be grafted straight onto the existing local authority street lighting infrastructure, BMW said. These additional charging stations can be used by as many drivers as possible, regardless of vehicle model and electricity provider, BMW said. Two street lights are already installed in front of the BMW headquarters. Drivers will be able to pay to charge their cars via a mobile phone app.