Kansas City Will Have EV Chargers on Light Poles Through Pilot Project

Nissan Leaf EV demonstrating streetlight pole charging station 14 photos
Photo: Metropolitan Energy Center
Streetlight pole equipped with EV charging stationTrojan Energy flat and flush charge pointsTrojan Energy flat and flush charge pointsTrojan Energy flat and flush charge pointsTrojan Energy flat and flush charge pointsTrojan Energy flat and flush charge pointsPorsche charging stationUbitricity's simple charging solutionUbitricity's simple charging solutionUbitricity's simple charging solutionUbitricity's simple charging solutionUbitricity's simple charging solutionUbitricity's simple charging solution
Plug-in vehicle owners in Kansas City will enjoy charging stations embedded into streetlight poles by the end of the year. The idea is not exactly new, as it is already in use in Montreal, Los Angeles, and other cities, but it is a solid attempt at getting more people to use vehicles that can be charged from a plug.
The charging stations will be fitted to selected streetlight poles, and the price of charging will be the same as that found in Kansas City public charging stations, which is 22 cents for each kilowatt-hour sent to a vehicle's battery.

The move is part of a multiple-year project by the Metropolitan Energy Center in Kansas City, a nonprofit organization, which has recently received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. In the past three years, the organization has figured out where the chargers should be placed to ensure better coverage and actual usage of those chargers.

The MEC worked with several organizations to overlap maps of traffic patterns, EV adoption rates, air pollution, demographics, and existing charging stations to determine the best places where they should locate charging stations into streetlight poles.

At first, thirty stations will be installed, and the figure will go up to sixty as the Streetlight Charging in the City Right-of-Way pilot project moves along its course. The pilot project will be employed for three years to observe its efficiency. If people use those chargers regularly, the project will be justified and will prove it works in the Kansas City community.

With satisfactory results, it might be expanded for better coverage later. With increased sales of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, one should expect that to happen in the future. The streetlight poles will come with Level 2 chargers, which provide 240-volt AC power. Depending on the built-in charger of the vehicle that uses it, they should be good for up to 20 miles (32 km) of range for each hour of charging. The figures do not compare to high-power electric vehicle chargers, but the convenience may outweigh the reduced charging speed.

For the moment, it is unclear why streetlight chargers are not that popular in some places. For example, Los Angeles reportedly has 420 chargers (no pun intended) built in its streetlights. Placing an EV charger in a streetlight makes sense, as the infrastructure is already present, and the introduction of LED s instead of conventional bulbs allows charging without affecting the main purpose of the pole.

However, not all ideas that seem brilliant turn out to be successful, as the low usage of some of those poles showed in other cities. Since infrastructure developers do not get to receive direct feedback from their intended users, it is complicated to understand why this happens.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

Editor's note: For illustration purposes, photo gallery shows various electric vehicles charging at different types of charging stations.

About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories