Germany: Simple street lamp post plug-in recharges EV’s

Germany: Simple street lamp post plug-in recharges EV’s  | 28/11/14
by John Brian Shannon John Brian Shannon

One major impediment to the adoption of electric vehicles is the high cost of public charging stations for EV’s, as the charging units are very expensive. has come up with a novel solution whereby the ordinary street lamp post can be fitted with an electric vehicle charging point for the reasonable cost of 500 to 800 euros per streetlight, which is certainly more doable than the 10,000 euros of your typical EV charge point in Europe! - Reuters screenshot
No more petrol stations for you — ever! Image courtesy of

Street lamp post locations in selected cities within Germany are now being fitted with a Ubitricity Charge Point, allowing electric vehicle drivers to charge their EV battery.

Drivers prepay the cost of the electricity via Ubitricity to charge at these locations. Ostensibly at least, every street lamp post and parking meter in Europe could be fitted with one of these charge points.

Not only do German drivers have the option of charging their EV’s at home, now they can now pick up a charge while they shop, have coffee with friends, or while they spend the day at their workplace.

We are convinced there is room for this technology to be applied everywhere it’s needed, but we think that in most places there is a pressing need for investment in a charging infrastructure to allow the installation of charging points, not only here on lamp posts, but also in the workplace, at home and in underground carparks.

Governments are keen to cut the number of gas guzzling cars on the roads to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many are offering cash incentives to drivers to buy electric. But take-up has been slow partly due to the lack of charging stations.

There are lots of lamp posts which are already very well connected to the electricity network. Equipping a lamp post costs between 300 and 500 euros, depending on the circumstances at that location. When you consider the production price of our charging sockets, it is a long way from the 10,000 euros which must typically be invested in a charging station. Founder of Ubitricity, Frank Pawlitsche

All you need is an Electric Vehicle and Mobile Phone (app), your prepaid Ubitricity account and Ubitricity connector cable, and you’re set

Ubitricity portable, streetlight-attachable EV charging unit
Ubitricity’s portable, street lamp post EV Charge Point.

The great thing about the Ubitricity parking spots with their electric vehicle charge point is that they’re normal parking spots with a plug-in added. Your mobile phone app displays the Ubitricity ‘Charge Point’ locations.

You can park there all day and return to a car that is fully energized and ready to go. No more gas stations for you!

It’s a wonderful idea. Street lamp post and parking meters are everywhere it seems and combining a parking spot with an EV charge point is a stroke of genius. Boy those Germans are smart. Gut gemacht! (Well done!)

Driving electric is a cornerstone of Germany’s Energiewende energy policy

Only when driving on renewables will EV users avoid greenhouse gas emissions — not just locally but on a global scale. Renewable energies and EVs are natural partners of a sustainable energy and transportation sector. — From the Ubitricity website

Not only Ubitricity — but BMW is getting into the act too!

BMW i3
BMW i3 charging at a Ubitricity location in Berlin, Germany.

Drivers of the much-loved BMW i3 electric vehicle will soon have their own BMW charging network and software to guide you to nearby charge points.

Eventually, BMW will build their network across Europe to facilitate EV travel across the continent.

BMW has a vision to offer buyers their choice of gasoline powered — or as an option electric powered, or hybrid/electric powered cars across all model lines.

BMW is also famous for installing wind turbines, solar panels, and biomass power plants at it’s German factories, and taking their factories completely off-grid!

It also has plans to get into the consumer electricity business throughout Europe.

You’ll soon be able to buy a BMW car and a BMW motorcycle for your driveway and BMW electricity for your home and office. All produced by renewable energy and only renewable energy.

A note about TESLA Model S drivers and their unique charging situation

TESLA Model S at a SuperCharger location.
TESLA Model S at a SuperCharger location. Image courtesy of Edmonds.

All TESLA vehicles can access the Ubitricity lamp post charge points, but don’t forget to bring your Ubitricity charging cable — unlike the TESLA SuperCharger stations where the cable is permanently attached to the SuperCharger unit.

A benefit of TESLA SuperCharger top-ups is that they usually take 10-15 minutes. Look, there’s a Starbucks!

Another benefit is that (TESLA Model S drivers only) enjoy free charging at TESLA SuperCharger stations (for the life of the car) because that’s what you get for 70,000 euros.

But once your TESLA is charged, you must return to move your car in order to let other TESLA drivers access the SuperCharger, much like gas-engined drivers can’t leave their car in front of the gas pump while they go shopping.

Only the Ubitricity solution gives all EV drivers a convenient parking spot — and a charge. The ability to simply ‘Park and Plug’ in one location in today’s crowded cities is a very big plus indeed.

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It’s All About the Batteries! | Infographic

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The Tesla Gigafactory is one of the hottest cleantech stories of 2014, if not the hottest. Someone recently passed along a cool Tesla Gigafactory infographic that includes quite a bit of interesting info about the lithium-ion battery gigawatt-scale factory.

Of course, it notes that the best way to bring down the price of electric cars is to bring down the price of batteries, and quotes the Tesla estimate that the Gigafactory will reduce battery cost by about 30% per kWh.

EV Central. EV Sales. The Tesla Gigafactory is one of the hottest cleantech stories of 2014, if not the hottest.

Tesla Gigafactory Infographic from

Interview Part II | EV2014VÉ Conference, Vancouver, October 28-30

by John Brian Shannon John Brian Shannon

EV2014VÉ Conference Vancouver to be held October 28-30, at the Sheraton Wall Centre, Vancouver, BC Canada.

Sheraton Wall Centre, Vancouver, BC
Sheraton Wall Centre, Vancouver, BC

EV2014VÉ Conference Vancouver is the première electric vehicle conference and trade show in Canada with hundreds of delegates, industry experts, and industry guest speakers attending and is organized and promoted by Electric Mobility Canada. There will be static EV and PHEV displays available to view and photograph.

EV2014VÉ Conference Vancouver will take place at the Sheraton Wall Centre Vancouver, October 28-30, Tuesday-Thursday 8:30am-5:30pm.

EV Central has been granted an exclusive interview in advance of the event, with Mr. Al Cormier, CAE, President and CEO of Electric Mobility Canada, which is organizing and promoting EV2014VÉ Conference Vancouver.

Part II of this exclusive interview appears below


Al Cormier, founder and President and CEO of Electric Mobility Canada. Mr. Cormier is also responsible for the organization of EV2014VÉ.Q1: Thank you again Mr. Cormier for granting EV Central this exclusive interview. How is the EV market performing in Canada and the U.S.?

A1: Global trends regarding EV’s and PHEV’s are very encouraging. However, Canada’s sales could be better. Canadian sales are clearly enhanced in BC, ON, and QC, which are the provinces with financial incentive programs in place for EV buyers. We at Electric Mobility Canada are working hard to get the BC government to renew its clean energy vehicle program that has just ended.

Q2: Are hybrid EV’s part of the solution to lower emissions, or do your prefer pure electric vehicles?

A2: All forms of electrical transport are welcome. Plain hybrids can reduce emissions by 30%-50% depending on how they are driven — but more importantly, they do not present any ‘range anxiety’ issues for drivers. As EV sales volumes increase, unit costs typically go down and improved battery technology and advanced charging infrastructure is spreading rapidly which will go a long way to reduce so-called EV range anxiety.

EV2014 cost of EV battery
EV2014. The falling cost of EV batteries will only help EV and Hybrid-EV sales in Canada and the U.S.A.

Q3: Is the future of EV’s going to be made up of ‘free to use’ corporate charging stations such as the TESLA SuperCharger system, or will city or town ‘free to use’ charging stations funded or partially funded by taxpayers be the most predominant form of public charging systems. Or will most EV charging in the future be done at the home or office with a ‘regular’ 120V or 240V (and very slow) charger system?

A3: Most charging now and in the future will be done at home or at the office. Public charging stations are mostly free for now, but one can expect changes to that in the future. However, even a $5.00 charge, at say a Tim Horton’s Donuts location, would cost a lot less than an $80.00 fill at a gas station.

Q4: Do you feel the switch to EV’s is a ‘far off’ goal, one that may never see the light of day, or be confined to only corporate and government fleets? Or will enough critical mass (media, government and industry) accumulate to generate a paradigm shift in the public mindset to allow EV’s to flourish?

A4: EV’s will reach mainstream very soon. Fleets are typically early adopters and most fleets are already in EV’s or Hybrid EV’s — or are looking at them.

Plug-in vehicle sales per million inhabitants. Image courtesy Electric Mobility Canada.
Plug-in vehicle sales per million inhabitants. Image courtesy Electric Mobility Canada.

Q5: Are smaller EV companies, such as the VIA Motors V-Trux (GM pickup trucks and light duty vans converted at the factory to EV-only power) and Brammo (100% electric motorcycles) going to be part of this event?

A5: The conference program deals with all manufacturers of EV’s, Hybrid cars, and also light trucks such as the VIA Motors ‘V-Trux’, and EV motorcycles such as the ‘Brammo’ electric motorcycle product line.

Q6: Is there opportunity to view, sit inside, and photograph EV vehicles that may be on display? Are future (concept cars) going to be on display?

A6: Yes, there will be some electric vehicles on display and conference attendees are welcome to photograph the vehicles. There is the possibility an autonomous EV will be on display.

Thank you for your time, Mr. Cormier!

See Part III of this interview September 1st, which will be published here on EV Central for more information and event updates along with a discussion of charging systems and any grid infrastructure upgrades that may be required to service the thousands of expected EV sales in the coming years.

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EV2014VÉ Conference Vancouver October 28-30, 2014

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