Seeing the light: Siemens powers up UK’s first ‘Electric Avenue’

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Seeing the light: Siemens powers up UK's first 'Electric Avenue'

Sutherland Avenue in Westminster becomes UK’s first residential avenue fully converted to provide lamppost electric vehicle charging points

Siemens yesterday unveiled the UK’s first avenue to be fully converted to cater for electric vehicle (EV) charging, installing 24 lamp post-integrated chargepoints along Sutherland Avenue in central London.

Dubbed ‘Electric Avenue, W9’, the project has been developed by the engineering giant, in collaboration with ubitricity and Westminster City Council.

The installation means residents without access to offstreet parking can now charge EVs at various locations along the half mile stretch of Sutherland Avenue in London. A further two adjoining roads are due to be upgraded in the coming weeks.

Credit: Siemens
Credit: Siemens

The launch follows research conducted by Siemens showing over a third of British motorists planned to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle as their next car, with 40 per cent saying that a lack of charging points stopped them from making the switch sooner.

The new infrastructure is aiming to help serve burgeoning demand, with Westminster reporting 40 per cent growth in EVs charged in the borough during 2019.

Westminster City Council currently has more EV points than any UK local authority, with a total of 296 lamp column charge points in the city, including the 24 new installations on ‘Electric Avenue, W9’.

There are plans to reach the 1,000  charge point mark across the borough 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 over 1,300 installations covering the breadth of the city, backed by funding from the Go Ultra Low Cities Scheme.

Cedrik Neike, member of the managing board of Siemens AG and CEO of Siemens Smart Infrastructure, said the latest project was “an important showcase” for how EV charging infrastructure could be deployed at scale.

“We know that half of London’s air pollution is caused by road transport and Westminster is a particularly busy area. 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,” he said. “It illustrates how residential streets will look in the near future, and accelerates the shift to zero emission vehicles.” 

The hope is that projects such as the ‘Electric Avenue’ roll out can help challenge misconceptions about the availability of off-street charging.

Siemens’ new survey found the average motorist currently believes there are only 100 to 200 EV charging points in London, which is less than 10 per cent of Siemens installations currently available. Meanwhile, almost a third believed there were no EV charging points near their home or workplace.

“Lamp post charging gives people without driveways a very convenient, low cost, renewable, energy-friendly way to charge their EVs,” said Daniel Bentham, managing director at charging technology specialist ubitricity UK. “Cars spend 95 per cent 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.”

The new project was also welcomed by Deputy Mayor for the Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, who said: “Our bold action to tackle the capital’s air pollution and climate threats is sparking a revolution in electric transport in the capital. Last year, more than 140 organisations 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.”

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Seeing the light: Siemens powers up UK’s first ‘Electric Avenue’

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