One of the main drawbacks when using an electric car is the lack of charging points around the city.
But there could be light at the end of the tunnel according to the founders of German start-up Ubitricity, who have come up with the bright idea of fitting charging sockets onto lamp posts.
The concept is currently being tested on around 100 lamp posts across Berlin.
The technical innovation lies in the actual charging cable, which incorporates its own electricity meter. The socket on the lamp post is relatively basic and simple to install. Drivers simply bring their own charging cable with them.
The counter tots up the amount of power used and the customer is directly billed for his or her electricity consumption.
“The major problem we face is that electric cars don’t always stay in the same place, they travel around and need charging wherever they are,” says Ubitricity founder Frank Pawlitschek.
“So wherever they are parked, there needs to be a plug. But it does not make much sense to install the expensive technology all over the place. With our system, all you only need to do is bring along your own piece of charging equipment and charge up wherever you want, because the electricity contract comes with the cable itself.”
According to its developers, equipping a lamp post costs between 300 and 500 euros. Even if you take into account the production price of the charging socket, it is a far cry from the 10,000 euros needed to cover the cost of installing a conventional charging station. They are hoping to apply this technology in the future not only to lamp posts but also in workplaces, at home and in underground car parks.