May 20, 2017

BMW has teamed up with eluminocity US to create street lights with integrated charging points in Seattle.

The manufacturer unveiled the first Light & Charge site at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle and there will be lots more. That’s because BMW sees the Light & Charge street lights as an essential ingredient in its carsharing program, ReachNow, that is now based in Seattle.

ReachNow is a success story for BMW

BMW recently expanded the program to Portland and Brooklyn, but Seattle is its spiritual home and the majority of its 700 cars are based in the Emerald City. ReachNow is turning into a success story for BMW, with more than 50,000 members using the on-demand rental service and driving the i3, MINI and BMW 3 Series as and when required.

Light & Charge is phase two of the plan and involves converting existing street lights into high-tech charging centers with LED lighting, a sensor bus that ensures the site  is cloud connected to handle the customer service side, one fast charger and as many as four Level II chargers.

This plan is cost-effective

BMW is set to invest $1.2 million in the program and the plan is to open the charging points to the general public.

“Public access to charging stations is a critical step to increasing the adoption and use of electric vehicles,” says ReachNow CEO Steve Banfield. “The more EV charging stations there are, the faster we can scale the number of EVs in the ReachNow fleet and make sustainable urban transportation services more widely available.”

The environment is a big deal in Seattle

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is determined to make the city an environmental leader and has targeted total carbon neutrality by 2050. He said: “As a leader on climate change, Seattle is working to connect drivers to our clean, carbon-neutral electricity.

“This investment from ReachNow and the BMW Group demonstrates that together, government and private industry can help the City reduce pollution and create a healthier community.”

Switching out existing street lighting for more efficient units that also contain charge points seems a pretty basic approach. But it clearly works.

If the likes of BMW and eluminocity US can make a difference in Seattle for the kind of money they’d spend on a primetime TV advertising slot, then this could be good business for everybody.

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