For electric cars to really hit the mainstream we need to build better networks of charging points so drivers can ‘fill up’ more easily – and an ingenious scheme is now underway in London to convert standard streetlights into charging points for vehicles.

All that electric car drivers need is a custom charging cable and a parking space next to one of the adapted lights, with power usage and billing all handled via a connected app. The best part is, most of the infrastructure is already in place.

While the scheme is rolling out in London, the brains behind it come from a German company called ubitricity, which began converting streetlights in the borough of Hounslow in 2015. More points were recently added in Richmond upon Thames.

“We want our drive to install more charge points across London to translate into greater electric vehicle use and ultimately cleaner air for everyone in the capital,” says ubitricity CEO Knut Hechtfischer.

Here’s how it works: first, designated streetlights get converted to LED versions, so they draw less power. The power that’s no longer being used to guide people at night can then be used to charge cars, via a socket provided by ubitricity.

No extra power lines need to be laid, no extra charging boxes need to be built, and drivers get some added reassurance that they won’t get caught short with a low battery. Installation of the sockets is quick and relatively cheap, ubitricity says.

Prices for charging up are in the region of 13 pence per Kilowatt hour, according to a Tesla driver speaking to Fully Charged. That means you could fill up a Tesla Model S for around £13, which works out at about US$17 or AU$22 – enough to get you through about 682 kilometres (424 miles) of driving.

Several other solutions are in the works too, and soon charging your electric vehicle could be as simple as driving down the road: earlier this year researchers from Stanford University figured out how to beam a small amount of electricity into a moving object, which might one day mean you could drive past a charging station to fill up.

Tests have also been carried out in the UK to look at how road surfaces could be adapted to act as continual chargers. Once this kind of technology matures we can enjoy all the benefits of electric cars – low noise, and no polluting fumes.

Of course, there’s still the further step of getting the source energy onto renewables to make the entire process as clean and green as possible. London has a very poor record when it comes to renewable energy use.

But making life easier for more electric cars is a great step toward a cleaner future. Cutting vehicle emissions can have a great impact of its own.

“Poor air quality is one of the biggest issues facing London,” says Councillor Peter Buckwell from Richmond Council in London, where ubitricity has recently been helping to upgrade streetlights. “We need to do everything we can to cut vehicle emissions.”

“I hope that as we continue to roll out more charging points, even more residents will start buying electric cars. They aren’t just good for the environment, they are also good for the pocket.”


Portrait von Nicole Anhoff-Rosin, Head of Marketing und Communications und Pressesprecherin bei ubitricity.

Press Contact

Nicole Anhoff-Rosin
Head of Marketing & Communications

For further information or press enquiries, please contact us by e-mail at any time.


About ubitricity

ubitricity is the leading charge point operator in the UK and hosts a network of over 6,000 public charge points. Supplying lamppost, bollard, fast and rapid charge point solutions, ubitricity works alongside local authorities to expand public charging infrastructure inline with residents’ needs. Based in Berlin and London the company also operates in other European countries such as Germany and France. ubitricity is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Shell Group

Cautionary note

The companies in which Shell plc directly and indirectly owns investments are separate legal entities. In this announcement “Shell”, “Shell Group” and “Group” are sometimes used for convenience where references are made to Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general. Likewise, the words “we”, “us” and “our” are also used to refer to Shell plc and its subsidiaries in general or to those who work for them. These terms are also used where no useful purpose is served by identifying the particular entity or entities. ‘‘Subsidiaries’’, “Shell subsidiaries” and “Shell companies” as used in this announcement refer to entities over which Shell plc either directly or indirectly has control. Entities and unincorporated arrangements over which Shell has joint control are generally referred to as “joint ventures” and “joint operations”, respectively. Entities over which Shell has significant influence but neither control nor joint control are referred to as “associates”. The term “Shell interest” is used for convenience to indicate the direct and/or indirect ownership interest held by Shell in an entity or unincorporated joint arrangement, after exclusion of all third-party interest.

This announcement contains forward-looking statements (within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995) concerning the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of Shell. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management’s current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning the potential exposure of Shell to market risks and statements expressing management’s expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as “aim”, “ambition”, ‘‘anticipate’’, ‘‘believe’’, ‘‘could’’, ‘‘estimate’’, ‘‘expect’’, ‘‘goals’’, ‘‘intend’’, ‘‘may’’, “milestones”, ‘‘objectives’’, ‘‘outlook’’, ‘‘plan’’, ‘‘probably’’, ‘‘project’’, ‘‘risks’’, “schedule”, ‘‘seek’’, ‘‘should’’, ‘‘target’’, ‘‘will’’ and similar terms and phrases. There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Shell and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements included in this announcement, including (without limitation): (a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas; (b) changes in demand for Shell’s products; (c) currency fluctuations; (d) drilling and production results; (e) reserves estimates; (f) loss of market share and industry competition; (g) environmental and physical risks; (h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions; (i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions; (j) legislative, judicial, fiscal and regulatory developments including regulatory measures addressing climate change; (k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions; (l) political risks, including the risks of expropriation and renegotiation of the terms of contracts with governmental entities, delays or advancements in the approval of projects and delays in the reimbursement for shared costs; (m) risks associated with the impact of pandemics, such as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak; and (n) changes in trading conditions. No assurance is provided that future dividend payments will match or exceed previous dividend payments. All forward-looking statements contained in this announcement are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Additional risk factors that may affect future results are contained in Shell plc’s Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2020 (available at and These risk factors also expressly qualify all forward-looking statements contained in this announcement and should be considered by the reader. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of this announcement, 3rd August 2017. Neither Shell plc nor any of its subsidiaries undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information. In light of these risks, results could differ materially from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward-looking statements contained in this announcement.

The content of websites referred to in this announcement does not form part of this announcement.

We may have used certain terms, such as resources, in this announcement that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) strictly prohibits us from including in our filings with the SEC. Investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in our Form 20-F, File No 1-32575, available on the SEC website