BMW Wants To Turn Street Lights Into EV Charging Stations


There’s been a lot of talk about the kind of infrastructure we will need to support the growing number of electric cars on the road. BMW’s Light and Charge proposal might be one of the most viable: put charging stations on the street lights that already line our streets.

Showcased at the company’s MINI Plant in Oxford, the project builds the charging stations directly into the posts holding the street lights, effectively integrating the EV infrastructure into already-existing urban facilities. Not only are street lights everywhere, they’re already wired to the city’s power grid, too, minimizing the amount of work and resources required in providing the new infrastructure.


Under the Light and Charge program, the charging grids will be installed on the base of the light posts, with a credit card payment facility integrated into the system to eliminate the need for an attendant. The idea is that you’ll simply park your BMW i3 by the street lamp, swipe your card on the station, and plug in, making it easy for electric vehicles to refill their batteries while in the middle of a trip. Under the program, the lights are also replaced with an intelligently-controlled LED system, which the company believes can help reduce the overall cost of the light’s operation. The LED system, by the way, is modular, allowing the city to install up to four LEDs each for areas that require higher-then-usual illumination.

The Light and Charge program is currently installed as part of the Oxford City Council’s Low Carbon Oxford Week celebrations, which will run up to June 21st.

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2 Responses

  1. Kelly

    Totally great idea for charging green cars’ batteries. It’s like a parking meter with electricity. The street lights already have wiring, structure in place, and conduit running to them – or maybe they’re talking brand new lights – either way, I say what’s taking so long.

    Just pull up, swipe your credit cards and charge your car while you are in the salon getting your hair colored – or stopping to recharge your body with a nice meal at a nearby restaurant, it works.

  2. Dan

    i really like the idea of this and can tell that a lot of Science and thought was put into this. i don’t see wha the harm would be, especially if the lights were powered by solar-power anyway. also, why not just solar-power the car then in this case? is this more a matter of sharing or reusing electricity and power in general? kelly, how much do you think the usage of one of these would cost? are there different qualities of power dependent upon the wattage and wiring or products and car being used? BMW is always coming out with amazing products and technology, so it’s no surprise that they have finally turned to the Hybrid side of automobiles and services. i like the LED technology thats being used to minimize energy exertion and be more practical in the quality of light and electricity being emitted. a lot of thought has gone into this, i just hope the government wouldn’t interfere because of the good ol’ oil industry.


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