Londoners could soon be charging their electric cars from street lights thanks to a new trial

With electric cars rising in awareness among the general public and the numbers on the road seeking a convenient place to charge up, London has started a trial allowing EVs to charge from upgraded street lights.

The trial, which was initially rolled out in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, allows owners to plug into an adapted street light, making it a convenient way to charge near your home if you don’t have access to off-street parking.

Operated in conjunction with UK Power Networks, the initiative will see the street furniture receive an all-important upgrade to ensure that the power can be safely drawn from the cable and, at the same time, safeguard the the integrity of the local electricity supply.

Crucially for the consumer, aside from the added convenience of potentially being able to charge up right outside your house, the trial promises users accurate bills for the electricity consumed, sent straight to their smartphones or computers. If the current situation proves successful the trial, which started in November, could be rolled out to other areas in the city.

Commenting on the initiative, Mark Burton, from UK Power Networks, said: “This technology avoids the need to build new electricity network and makes better use of the cables, particularly in the daytime when the lights are switched off.

“This solution means we can monitor how much electricity is being used in order to maintain reliable electricity supplies as more EVs connect to our networks. It should also release more parking spaces currently set aside as dedicated EV charging bays, result in less street furniture and fewer excavations to install new charging points.”

Until truly high-tech induction charging technology becomes more affordable and widespread, initiatives like this one are likely to be a useful stepping stone to roads that charge cars automatically as you drive along them, and charging mats you can park on at home and the office.

Be part of something big