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BMW Works on Street Lights That Charge Electric Vehicles

Image via Flickr by Chris F

Currently, if you want to charge your electric vehicle, you must get a special socket installed in your garage. However, BMW is working on a product that will change all that. They want to add charging sockets to street lights everywhere.Street light charging stations sound like a good idea because street lights are already located on most city streets and have access to the power infrastructure. So, a person would simply have to park next to one and plug in his vehicle to get a charge. Electric vehicles could be charged anywhere in the city; not just when the owner is at home.

The problem is that street light charging stations would cost a lot of money for cities to implement. BMW representative Peter Schwarzenbauer said, “Seamless charging infrastructure is essential if we want to see more electric vehicles on the road in our cities in the future.” Next year, BMW is testing out their street lights in Munich. BMW is also talking to other electric vehicle makes, such as Tesla, to create a product that works with any electric vehicle.

Other companies have explored similar products. For instance, Intelilight has its own version of electric vehicle friendly lamps. BMW’s street lights have LED lights, and there are likely to be several different stylistic designs that cities could choose from.

Of course, BMW’s product brings up the question of who is responsible for paying the power bill. Widespread use of street lights makes it difficult to track who is plugging in. Most cities would be unwilling to take on the costs. BMW solved this problem by creating an app for drivers to pay via mobile phone. They have also worked on an app that will help drivers find charging stations.

Street light charging stations definitely make driving an electric vehicle more appealing. Owners would no longer have to worry about running out of power while they are away from home. However, it will still be a long time before these charging stations are seen in most cities.

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