Beijing launches hybrid streetlight, car charger

There's been a lot of talk in Europe recently about doubling up the usefulness of streetlamps by turning them into electric car chargers. Talk is cheap. Leave it to China to actually do it.

The city of Beijing has converted 88 high pressure sodium streetlamps into LED models, and it has installed charging stations on eight of those poles, an article by the Xinhua news agency suggests.

The pilot project, in Beijing's Changping district, will expand into other ares.

'The city plans to build 10,000 public charging poles for electric cars by 2017, the municipal government said in June of last year,' Xinhua stated in the article, carried by several news outlets including China Daily and Taiwan's Want China Times.

The plan is to install them not only on streets – as in Changping – but also in airports, train stations, car parks, highway rest areas, petrol stations and other areas.

The Xinhua article did not identify the equipment supplier.

As Lux reported, German automaker BMW late last year said it would start offering a similar hybrid streetlight and car charger.

BMW is working with several partners, including Munich-base eluminoicty, which specialises combining streetlights and chargers and in connecting streetlights into digital networks; with Austrian lighting designer Bartenbach; and with German charger firm Ebee Smart Technologies, among others.

It has not yet announced customers or trial implementations.

Leveraging streelights as car chargers marks one of the latest twists in the emergence of digital streetlighting as the backbone of connected urban data and technology services. Sensor equipped streetlights will help do everything form monitor crowds, traffic and parking, to measure air quality.

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Photo is from Zhu Difeng via Shutterstock