Siemens unveils UK’s first converted ‘Electric Avenue’
Siemens unveiled the UK’s first avenue that has been fully converted to cater for electric vehicle (EV) charging, coined "Electric Avenue, W9."
The project, in collaboration with ubitricity and Westminster City Council, has successfully converted 24 lampposts into EV charge points using existing city infrastructure. Residents can now charge EVs at various locations along Sutherland Avenue in London, with a further two adjoining roads due to be completed in the coming weeks.
The launch follows research conducted by Siemens showing over a third (36%) of British motorists planned to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle as their next car, with two in five people (40%) saying that a lack of charging points stopped them from doing so sooner. According to the company, this makes it the biggest factor deterring motorists from purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle.
"Electric Avenue, W9" builds upon an apparent shift in Britain’s attitude toward EVs. Data shows 80% of motorists in central London believe it is "very important" that air quality is improved, and 83% have become more concerned about their carbon footprint in the past five years. Westminster has seen a 40% growth in EVs charged in the borough during 2019.
Westminster City Council says it currently has more EV points than any UK local authority, with a total of 296 lamp column charge points in the city, 24 of which are located on this avenue. There are plans to reach a thousand charge points across Westminster City Council within the next year, as it has twice the number of locally registered EVs than any other inner London borough and the most among all the other London boroughs.
Siemens and ubitricity have now completed more than 1300 installations covering the breadth of the city, significantly funded from the Go Ultra Low Cities Scheme and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s #LetLondonBreathe campaign. The technology used in the conversions allows EVs to be charged overnight to a range of approximately 124 – 186 miles (200 – 300 km), depending on the battery charging system used in the car. Hybrid cars can often be fully charged in about two to three hours.
“We know that half of London’s air pollution is caused by road transport and Westminster is a particularly busy area,” said Cedrik Neike, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and CEO of Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “While we cannot solve the challenge of air quality overnight, ‘Electric Avenue W9’ is an important showcase of what’s possible using existing city infrastructure. It illustrates how residential streets will look in the near future, and accelerates the shift to zero emission vehicles.”
“In a city that suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the country, we need to be supporting the change to green technology as much as we can,” said Cllr Andrew Smith, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Environment & Highways. “‘Electric Avenue, W9’ gives us a glimpse into the future of streets in Westminster, where we hope to provide the infrastructure needed for our residents to make the switch to cleaner, greener transport.”
Motorists currently believe there are only 100 to 200 EV charging points in London, which is less than 10% of Siemens installations currently available. Meanwhile, almost a third believed there were no EV charging points near their home or workplace. The transformation of Sutherland Avenue utilizes existing infrastructure for EV charge points that aims to create a simple, fast network that to provide charge to the expected 8000 EVs forecast to be registered in Westminster City Council by 2025.
“Lamppost charging gives people without driveways a very convenient, low cost, renewable, energy-friendly way to charge their EVs,” said Daniel Bentham, Managing Director of ubitricity UK. “Cars spend 95% of their lives idle, so it makes sense to charge them while the driver is doing something else, like sleeping or working. Our technology is designed to keep installation and maintenance costs low, which translates to long-term low costs for EV drivers and councils.”
“Our bold action to tackle the capital’s air pollution and climate threats is sparking a revolution in electric transport in the capital,” said Shirley Rodrigues, London’s Deputy Mayor for the Environment and Energy. “Last year, more than 140 organizations supported the Mayor’s EV Infrastructure Taskforce—developing a plan on how to expand public charging points across the capital. This sort of innovation is what we have been calling for and it will go a long way to support our growing charging network.”
For further information, visit www.siemens.com/smartinfrastructure.