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BMW Streetlight Charging

Discussion in 'Europe' started by ibdb, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. ibdb

    ibdb 3 Car Garage and a 5 Car Life

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    #1 ibdb, Jun 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2015
  2. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Funny, back in the 90s I had a tiny EV. There were no chargers anywhere. I figured out a way to open street lights and hook up a cable and charge my car. Of course it was illegal and one day the police caught me. It made it in the local papers. Charges were dropped because the stolen energy was worth pennies. Now, 25 years later, they make it official. LOL
     
  3. tom66

    tom66 Member

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    I'm not involved in the engineering aspect of street lights so I'm not aware how much power capability exists, but I would honestly be surprised if you can get more than 1kW off the input feed (esp. when derated for long distances to nearest substation, wiring thickness & other cars charging), so this will make for very slow charging IMHO. Seems like a bit of a gimmick.
     
  4. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Street lights are generally wired with very small conductors with just enough capacity to power the bulb (usually no more than 250 watts) and at 120 volts in North America. There was never any intent to power more than that. It could be a useful idea going forward, but proper infrastructure would have to be put in place. I can't see this working with existing streetlights unless they are upgraded.
     
  5. scaesare

    scaesare Active Member

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    At a hotel I checked in to about a year ago, they had no dedicated EV chargers, but told me I could use their plug in the parking lot. It was only 120v/15A, but good enough for me to top off at bight enough to get back home. It was a plug in the base of a light pole. They even coned off the space for me so I could have it when I arrived.

    I plugged in the first evening and and when I checked via the phone app a few hours later I wasn't charging. I went out to see what's up, and the plug was dead. Another plug on a pole a few rows over was also dead. A few rows over from that (and in-line with the plugs) at the edge of the parking lot overlooking the adjacent freeway was a much larger pole supporting a billboard overhanging that freeway.

    On that pole was a breaker box with conduit leading down in to the ground. Presuming the breaker was inside, it was locked. I looked up and ALSO realized that the the lights illuminating the billboard were ALSO out. Utto.

    I spoke with the hotel, and they said "Oh yeah, those poles actually belong to the city, we don't maintain those."

    I eventually found another outlet to use, but I don't know how long that billboard was dark. It also illustrates that there may not be much excess capacity on street lighting circuits...
     
  6. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I should mention that sometimes outlets are wired into streetlight poles but the intention is for them to power seasonal (Christmas) lights and such. Often a BIA will pay for the outlet and the additional electricity (billed flat rate), but there are strict conditions on how much decorative lighting load can be added. Usually it's something like a wreath with a few colored LED bulbs or similar.
     

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