The Mini Plant at Oxford is showcasing a high-efficiency street lighting system that doubles as a charging station for electric vehicles (EVs) during the city’s second Low Carbon Oxford Week.
Known as Light & Charge and demonstrated for the first time in the UK, this innovative system is the outcome of a pilot project developed by the BMW Group and is a state-of-the-art LED street light that combines energy-efficient lighting with affordable EV charging.
Allowing cities to significantly reduce energy consumption, its integrated charge point also provides a cost-effective and simple solution which can be grafted straight onto the existing local authority street lighting infrastructure, substantially increasing the number of public charging stations. EV charging stations can be set up at any location where suitable parking is available, simply by replacing conventional street lights with Light & Charge systems.
“Light & Charge is a simple and innovative solution which aims to integrate a charging station network into the urban landscape and this is essential if we want to see more electric vehicles on the road in our cities in the future. I’m delighted that the MINI plant is the first location in the UK to showcase BMW Group’s technological expertise not only in developing electric vehicles but also as part of a much wider commitment to electric mobility,” said Frank Bachmann, managing director, Mini Plant Oxford.
Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council are currently working in partnership to increase the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles such as electric cars as part of their bid for funding from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles, Go Ultra Low City Scheme.
Commenting on the innovation, representatives from Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council said: “We’re pleased that we have the opportunity to take a look at this innovative new technology as part of Low Carbon Oxford week. Combining energy-efficient street lighting with a re-charging station for electric vehicles is a neat solution to the problems of on-street charging stations.”
With its modular LED design, the Light & Charge street light is much more energy-efficient than conventional street lighting and provides more effective illumination. It can be installed anywhere and its modular design can to be tailored to different locations. Up to four LED modules can be used to provide night-time lighting on main roads, while one or two modules are sufficient to provide lighting on side streets and in residential areas. As is already the case with vehicle headlights, LED technology allows more targeted light distribution with highly uniform illumination to increase road safety and is optimised for minimum glare and light pollution. Through intelligent control electronics, the street light can adjust itself to its environment and yields energy savings by enabling the reduction of light output late at night and whenever no one is around.
The EV charging cable connects to a standard connector on the Light & Charge street light and the integrated control panel allows drivers to start charging with the swipe of a card regardless of vehicle model.