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Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your electric vehicle charger.
That’s the model pole-mounted EV chargers take: drivers sidle up to the curb and scan a QR code via an app to lower a J1772 connector. Electric utility poles house the chargers, making the tech easy to access. Drivers only pay for the electricity used within a three-hour time limit.
Energy provider National Grid recently installed the tech in Melrose, Massachusetts, which is the latest city to explore the concept. Los Angeles currently hosts over 430 chargers on city streetlights and 44 on utility poles. With cheap installation costs (traditional ground stations cost 70% more, according to National Grid) and integration into typical parking spots, pole-mounted chargers take advantage of existing infrastructure to simplify EV charging.
The question of where to put the chargers has long plagued the EV industry. In Los Angeles, they are nestled in parking lots at workplaces and other high-traffic sites, including the Kia Forum and, eventually, Taco Bell. Elon Musk wants to elevate the experience with drive-in-style service at his proposed charging site in Hollywood. A number of Los Angeles-based startups are also trying to make EV charging affordable and accessible. One is planning to make charging station rest stops—complete with restaurants and wifi.
But California is already home to a number of EV charging stations and has more registered EVs than other states. For states that don’t boast as many EVs, luxury charging stations with movie screenings probably won’t encourage more people to go electric. Tech that adds to existing infrastructure, like the pole-mounted charging station, could make expanding charging stations more practical.
The idea still faces some challenges, as integrating changes into neighborhoods can incur the wrath of homeowners associations. Some critics believe that curbside charging could discourage the expansion of bus and bike infrastructure by encouraging car use. But Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which passed in the House earlier today, could incentivize more people to buy electric cars. As concerns grow about the climate crisis, utility pole-mounted charging stations could dangle a solution to the gap in available charging infrastructure.—Kristin Snyder
There were no big surprises from RJ Scaringe’s EV hopeful—and that is a very good thing for the scandal-plagued EV-maker. Reporter David Shultz has the highlights.
Wanda Sykes latest comedy show is called "Ring Nation" and will use footage from people's doorbell surveillance systems from across the nation.
In this week’s round up of career changes across SoCal's tech scene, healthcare AI platform mPulse Mobile got a new CEO and clinical-stage cancer prevention company ImmPACT Bio hired a CFO.
The Los Angeles-based salon booking startup raised fresh funding to expand engineering and development. See all this week's SoCal-based venture capital news in our weekly round up.
On this episode of Office Hours, Maria Colacurcio joined host Spencer Rascoff to discuss how technology can change workplace equity and the importance of company-specific decision making.
What We’re Reading...
- Action movie legend Michael Bay will help design robot avatars for augmented reality platform Jadu, and will consult with the company’s story team.
- Forbes publishes a deep dive into Linkedin and found that over 300 current TikTok and ByteDance employees have strong personal ties to China’s state-run media and propaganda industry.
- Electric automaker Fisker Inc. says it's sold out of its U.S. allotment for both the Fisher Ocean Sport and Fisher Ocean Ultra trim levels.