Street lights should come with car chargers - minister

NEW STREET LIGHTS should come equipped with electric car charging points fitted as standard, says the UK’s transport chief.

New proposals, announced by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, are designed to make it easier to recharge an electric car rather than refuel petrol or diesel vehicles.

UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says today’s proposals are designed to make it easier to recharge an electric car rather than refuel petrol or diesel vehicles. Pic: FCO

Under the plans, if there is a parking space adjacent to the street light, if should have an in-built electric vehicle charging point.

Grayling said the proposed measures would mean the UK having ‘one of the most comprehensive support packages for zero-emission vehicles in the world’.

‘The prize is not just a cleaner and healthier environment but a UK economy fit for the future and the chance to win a substantial slice of a market estimated to be worth up to £7.6 trillion by 2050,’ he said.

Many local authorities in the UK already have initiatives with combining the street lighting network and charging points.

In London, Wandsworth, Richmond, Hounslow, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea have all had trials, some with new street lights and others with existing luminaires. But Grayling believes a national strategy is necessary to drive the technology forward.

However, the trials have revealed a series of technical, practical and interoperability issues with using street lights to charge electric vehicles. While the conversion of existing street lights to LED does free-up current-carrying capacity which can be used to charge vehicle batteries, it’s become clear the dedicated high-current circuits are required to deliver the fast charge times demanded by drivers.

A national policy could also harmonise the diverse platforms that are already starting to appear on our streets. Some local authorities are providing free systems while others have partnered up with private sector suppliers. For instance, Kensington and Chelsea Council signed an agreement with energy company, Ovo, and German tech firm ubitricity, to install 50 charging points in street lights. These use ubitricity’s proprietary SimpleSockets technology, so drivers will have have to use their own ubitricity cable connector.


  • Charging points and street lighting is one of the topics to be explored at the Safer Cities conference taking place at the LuxLive 2018 exhibition and conference at ExCeL London on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018. For more information, and to register, click HERE.