Street lights are already brimming with electricity, so it stands to reason that they’d make great charging points for electric cars, doesn’t it? BMW certainly thinks so. It has developed Light and Charge LED street lights that could keep your EV topped up (Beemer or otherwise) using existing urban infrastructure instead of dedicated power outlets and charging stations. It should be cheaper for cities to implement, of course, but it could also take a lot of the anxiety out of driving a gas-free vehicle — you could theoretically park on any street knowing that your car will have more energy when you come back.
This isn’t the first stab at EV-friendly lamps. Companies like Intelilight have explored this technology before. However, BMW may be one of the first to put these smarter street lights to good use. The automaker is launching a pilot project in Munich next year, and it has the corporate clout to spur other deployments. It’ll be a long while before you can assume that there’s a always an EV charger at hand, but the concept is now a little more realistic.