For electric vehicles to truly supplant their gas-guzzling predecessors, there needs to be as many charging stations on the roads as there are gas stations—if not more. So BMW proposes upgrading the street lights that already line roads everywhere with charging capabilities and energy-efficient lighting.
Street lights are already tied in to a city’s power grid, so it only makes sense for that existing infrastructure to be used to help further the proliferation of electric vehicles. BMW’s Light & Charge concept features intelligently-controlled LED bulbs at the top to help reduce the overall cost of running the lights all night, but also a charging station on the base complete with a credit-card based payment system so anyone could stop for a few minutes of juice without the need for an attendant.
The new streetlights are already being tested in Oxford, England, and are designed to be installed where there’s ample parking nearby. So every streetlight in a parking lot could be upgraded, but not those dotting the sides of a busy highway—for safety’s sake. And even though the initial cost of the new streetlights and installation would be high, over time they could easily pay for themselves and be a genuine source of income for a city.