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Trial of Smart Street Lamps To Improve EV Charging

The new Smart Infrastructure Pilots Programme (SIPP) developed by the UK government has allocated £1.3 million to six regions across the nation to support the testing of “smart street lamps”, which will be upgraded to provide EV charging hubs and free public WiFi technology via 5G.

The aim is to increase local connectivity to the EV charging infrastructure and wifi technology. Trials will take place in areas where access to EV charging may be challenging due to narrow residential streets, narrow pavements and a lack of domestically installed home wallboxes. 

Charging can be problematic for electric vehicle owners who live in a home without a driveway due to council restrictions against running a cable along or across a public roadway in accordance with the Highways Act 1980 legislation. It can be a safety hazard if the cable path runs from a house and across a pavement to your car. However, connecting your Type 1 to Type 2 or Type 2 to Type 2 charging cable to a near by lamppost would solve this problem.

The successful pilots will each have to match the government’s own funds, bringing the total investment to over £4 million. The local governments will provide an additional £2.7 million on top of the government’s £1.3 million contribution.

The pilots will start in October 2023 and continue through March 31, 2025 in the following authorities:

North Ayrshire Council 
Tees Valley Combined Authority
Oxfordshire County Council 
Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames 
Westminster City Council 
Cambridgeshire County Council

The pilot schemes may be modified to perform a variety of tasks, including EV charging, air quality monitoring, public information display, and energy-saving street lighting, which will help councils and combined authorities take advantage of new opportunities and enhance public services. The goal is to demonstrate how various uses of contemporary wireless technology may be integrated into UK infrastructure, connecting businesses and public services in novel ways to fully benefit from 5G and other cutting-edge connectivity techniques.

By no means a novel idea, lamp posts and bollards have already been used to power limited commercial projects (like Ubitricity’s EV chargers) and to increase mobile network coverage. However, the new trials might lead to a wider adoption of such approaches and will contribute to solving the pervasive issue of an available and dependable charging network that EV owners face when purchasing an EV.

Image Source: EV Street Charge

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