Solving Cities

All-in-one 'V-Pole' charges electric cars, lights the street

Posting in Cities

Is this the utility pole of the future?

Who says a street lamp should just light our city streets?

It certainly wasn't Douglas Coupland. He's designed the ultimate utility pole. The "V-Pole" (short for Vancouver Pole) would maximize public infrastructure by creating an all-in-one street light that would also provide neighborhood Wi-Fi and other infrastructure. At the top of the pole there's an LED street light, and built into the pole there's Wi-Fi, technology to wirelessly charge your electric car, and cell phone infrastructure. Plus, you can pay for parking and check a digital bulletin board.

The National Post describes how the pole is a able to pack so much into a tiny space:

The core of the V-Pole is lightRadio, a device developed jointly by Bell Labs and telecommunications giant Alcatel-Lucent that compresses all the wires and circuit boards of a cellphone tower into a single Rubik’s cube-sized block. “You can stack them inside a pole like Lego,” said Mr. Coupland.

Vancouver is expected to move forward with placing the technology throughout the city.

Not only would the "V-Poles" be high-tech all-in-one utility poles, they would also reduce urban clutter with fewer telephone poles, wires, and the like. Coupland also claims that the design would be more energy-efficient and cost-effective than traditional utility infrastructure. And for cities interested in installing electric car chargers anyway, this could be a much more efficient infrastructure addition.

“You would never think of building a house or office tower without electricity," said Coupland after unveiling his concept at last week's New Cities Summit in Paris. "In the same way, you would never think of developing future cities without ‘V-Poles.’”

It's a bold statement, but if Vancouver can prove them to be successful it might not be far from the truth.

All images courtesy of v-pole.com

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure