Electric vehicles have been slow to sell, largely because of a lack of charginig stations but as Hayley Platt reports one German entrepreneur has come up with the bright idea of installing charging points in existing street lamp posts.
German entrepreneurs show they are bright sparks, installing charging points for electric cars on lamp posts in Berlin. Finding somewhere to charge your electric vehicle can be a problem. But it could become easier thanks to one German entrepreneur. Frank Pawelitschk has come up with the bright idea of combining car-charging sockets with existing streets lights. His company Ubitricity has teamed up with Berlin-based electricity provider Stromnetz to trial the system. (SOUNDBITE) (German) FOUNDER OF UBITRICITY, FRANK PAWLITSCHEK, SAYING: "We are convinced there is room for this technology to be applied everywhere it's needed, but we think that in most places there is a pressing need for investment in a charging infrastructure to allow the installation of charging points, not only here on lamp posts, but also in the workplace, at home and in underground carparks. Governments are keen to cut the number of gas guzzling cars on the roads to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Many are offering cash incentives to drivers to buy electric. But take-up has been slow partly due to the lack of charging stations. Frank believes his invention offers a simple and inexpensive solution. Drivers prepay for their electricity and carry the charging cable with them. (SOUNDBITE) (German) FOUNDER OF UBITRICITY, FRANK PAWLITSCHEK, SAYING: "There are lots of lamp posts which are already very well connected to the electricity network. Equipping a lamp post costs between 300 and 500 euros, depending on the circumstances at that location. When you consider the production price of our charging sockets, it is a long way from the 10,000 euros which must typically be invested in a charging station." Frank does have competition. BMW is developing a similar system which it plans to test next year in Munich. It could also take years to get the necessary infrastructure in place. And drivers may need more convincing too. Even with government incentives many say electric cars are still too pricey.