For many American car owners, street parking is their only option. When it comes time to buy an electric vehicle, “where should I charge it?” will no doubt be one of the first questions they ask.
Quick fill is an option, which is most similar to how people fill up at gas stations. But fast chargers are pretty expensive any way you look at them. They are expensive to manufacture, install and maintain. Because of this, and because such spikes in demand can overwhelm the network, the price of fast charging is much higher than slower methods. Plus, even the fastest still takes longer than filling up the gas tank.
Luckily, cities have an easy way to improve their infrastructure to accommodate EVs: light poles that support street lights. Every street has it, and thanks to new energy-saving LEDs, some even have some remaining electrical capacity.
Cities around the world have started experimenting with charging light poles. London already has around 7,000 run by Ubitricity, a German startup bought by Shell two years ago. Drivers bring their own plugs and jacks to the receptacle at the base of the post. Flo, a Quebec startup, is testing a few dozen with integrated plugs in Los Angeles.
Now, voltpost, a New York City-based startup, threw its hat into the ring. The company closed a $3.6 million seed round led by RWE Energy Transition Investments with participation from Twynam Funds Management, Exelon Foundation, Good News Ventures, and Climate Capital, which Zero2Billions+ has studied exclusively.
Voltpost hopes there are a few things that will give it an edge in a busy but not yet crowded market. The team conducted “a large number of customer discovery interviews,” co-founder and CEO Jeff Prosserman told Zero2Billions+, speaking with the mayor’s office in New York City, electric utility ConEd, and the city’s Department of Transportation.