One of the downsides of expanding electric vehicle charging infrastructure is that chargers can clutter streets and sidewalks. However, two similar innovations could reduce this footprint: retractable sidewalk chargers and streetlight chargers.
London-based electric vehicle charging company Urban Electric Networks has developed an on-street charging device, the UEone, which retracts into the ground when not in use. It can be activated remotely using a smartphone app. The company tested six pop-up fast chargers in Oxford in 2019-2020, which proved to be highly successful.
Another UK company, Char.gy, has received funding from the UK government to install hotspots in streetlights across London. According to Char.gy, a standard streetlight using LED bulbs will have around 24 amps of excess electricity, which can be used to charge cars, providing around 20 miles of driving for every hour of charging.
Similarly, the Gul-e project in Oxford saw charging stations installed in homes without off-street parking with a gully placed in the curb from house to curb. A long charging cable connected the car to the charging point, allowing residents to charge using their own (cheaper) electricity and removing both charging point clutter and tripping hazards from cables crossing sidewalks .