Recharging at the nearest street lamp. The Berlin-based company Ubitricity offers an efficient solution for charging electric vehicles.
Ubitricity - the company name combines the words ubiquitous and electricity - was founded in Berlin in 2008 by Frank Pawlitschek and Knut Hechtfischer. The company has been active in the field of electromobility since the beginning and has shaped its development with innovative products. KfW held a stake in Ubitricity for a time through High-Tech Gründerfonds.
The company specialises primarily in the expansion and operation of charging infrastructure in public spaces. In spring 2021, the charging specialist was taken over by the Shell Group and has been a wholly owned subsidiary since then. Ubitricity has offices in Berlin, London, Paris and Rotterdam. The headquarters are still located on the EUREF campus in the German capital.
A trip here always takes visitors on a journey through time into the future. The energy and mobility revolution - nowhere in the capital, which is still dominated by classic transport, does it seem more tangible than on the grounds in the shadow of the historic Schöneberg Gasometer. Here, autonomous minibuses roll across the grounds in test mode, young entrepreneurs tinker with hydrogen engines and researchers from all over the world develop concepts for life in the smart city of tomorrow. Ubitricity currently employs more than 140 people from over 20 nations.
Help for lantern parkers
A serious obstacle for all potential buyers of e-cars: the still sluggish expansion of the charging infrastructure for "lantern parkers" in the cities. Yet the lantern as a charging station, of all things, offers a solution that could bring about a new dynamic for electromobility on Germany's roads.
If you want to marvel at the technology in practice, we recommend a trip to the British capital. Because in London, the charging technology from Berlin enjoys special recognition. With more than 7,500 charging points, Ubitricity operates the UK's largest public charging network. Due to its dense architecture, more than 70 percent of the inhabitants in Europe's most populous city do not have their own parking space. Charging points on private property are rare and e-car drivers have to rely on public charging points. The charging point in the English street lamp - which, by the way, is slimmer and smaller than its German counterpart - also has a much smaller impact on the London streetscape than a large number of specially installed charging points.
The Berlin-based company is also active in other European countries and is currently installing 1,000 lamppost charging points in Berlin. Since 2021, Ubitricity has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the Shell Group.
is a leading provider and operator of charging solutions for e-cars in public spaces and supports cities and municipalities in the rapid expansion of charging infrastructure. For a user-oriented charging mix, Ubitricity offers AC lantern charging points, AC standard and DC fast charging stations, thus lowering entry barriers to e-mobility. With more than 7,500 charging points, Ubitricity operates the UK's largest public charging network. The Berlin-based company is also active in other European countries and is currently installing 1,000 lantern charging points in Berlin. Since 2021, Ubitricity has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the Shell Group.Ubitricity
Ubitricity offers various alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) charging solutions: AC standard charging stations with seven to 22 kW charging power, DC fast charging stations with 50kW and more - and: AC lantern charging points. They use existing urban infrastructure and enable residents without a private parking space to charge their electric vehicles overnight and without extra trips. Charging one's own vehicle in the immediate vicinity of one's home thus becomes a matter of course - analogous to a private wallbox in one's own driveway. This is one of the most important prerequisites for e-mobility to become popular among city dwellers without their own charging station.
The Ubitricity charging points can be used conveniently and easily with a standard Type 2 cable. Authorisation takes place thanks to the connection to established roaming platforms with the usual tariffs of e-mobility service providers (EMSP), for example Shell Recharge. Alternatively, charging via ad-hoc access using a QR code or NFC tag is also possible without registration or current membership.
Further expansion in the UK
In July 2023, Ubitricity announced that it had been awarded two new contracts in the UK for a total of up to 560 additional lantern charging points. The charging points will be installed in the West Berkshire region and the London Borough of Redbridge. The streetlight-mounted units charge at up to 5kW and are expected to take just three hours to install. Previously, Ubitricity had already implemented larger orders in London, Liverpool, Portsmouth and Coventry. The parent company Shell even plans to install 50,000 Ubitricity devices in the UK by 2025.
Published on KfW Stories on 26 October 2018, updated on 20 July 2023.
The described project contributes to the following United Nationsʼ Sustainable Development Goals
Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Non-existent or dilapidated infrastructure hinders economic efficiency and thus engenders poverty. When building infrastructure, the focus should be on sustainability, for example, by promoting environmentally-friendly means of transport. Factories and industrial facilities should also ensure that production is in line with ecological aspects to avoid unnecessary environmental pollution.
All United Nations member states adopted the 2030 Agenda in 2015. At its heart is a list of 17 goals for sustainable development, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our world should become a place where people are able to live in peace with each other in ways that are ecologically compatible, socially just, and economically effective.