If you own an electric car, your two main charging options are plugging in at home or connecting to a public charging station like one of Tesla’s Superchargers. Home charging is simple enough, but there aren’t a huge amount of public terminals available. BMW has been experimenting with ways to power its growing number of electric cars in public spaces, and came up with the idea of turning LED street lamps into charging locations. The lamps, known as Light & Charge, have a modular design that BMW says “can be installed anywhere” and utilize up to four LED modules for night lighting on main roads or two in quieter areas.
The idea itself isn’t new: BMW announced the Light & Charge project last year, but showed them off for first time yesterday at Low Carbon Oxford Week in the UK. Like other smart street lamps, BMW has integrated controls that will adjust the amount of light needed depending on the time of day (like switching off when no one is around). The car maker also says that its new street lights will feature a standard EV connector, allowing drivers of other electric vehicles to patch into its chargers with the swipe of a card. The only requirement for Light & Charge is that lamps are installed where there is ample parking nearby (as they already draw power direct from the national grid), making them perfect for busy town and city centres.
[Image credit: Autoblog]