Visitors to Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo now can plug their electric cars into a charging station that’s also a streetlight post. It’s part of a test project by automaker BMW and the private firm eluminocity US to turn streetlights into at-the-ready electronic-vehicle chargers.
Drivers are used to fueling up in a few minutes and getting back on the road; spending an hour or more charging an EV isn’t practical for people on the go. The notion of an electric road that charges vehicles’ batteries wirelessly during transit is, so far, fraught with technical obstacles. Plugging in for a quick charge while you shop or dine, and paying for the power as you would pay a parking meter, may be the most workable compromise so far.
The partners see their power poles sprouting in parking lots as well as along city streets. The German eluminocity GmbH has tested a two-plug pole in Munich.