ReachNow, BMW Group’s mobility service, has partnered up with Woodland Park Zoo and the City of Seattle to install 100 new Light & Charge electric vehicle charging locations at 20 different locations across the city, effectively doubling the number of Fast Chargers available to the public in Seattle.

Developed by BMW in collaboration with eluminocity US Inc., Light & Charge systems transform existing street parking light poles into EV charging stations as part of a smart city network by combining high-efficiency LED lighting, EV charging and a Sensor Bus. The Sensor Bus senses various parameters and then connects the site to the cloud, in addition to providing computing power for nearby connected devices. Each Light & Charge site in Seattle includes one ChargePoint DC Fast Charger and two to four AC, Level II chargers, all of which run on the ChargePoint network, which has over 35,000 charging spots in the United States. Sites are available to the public and all are compatible with EVs that have SAE J1772 charging ports. The Light & Charge system is part of a $1.2 million investment by BMW in Seattle.

”Public access to charging stations is a critical step to increasing the adoption and use of electric vehicles. The more EV charging stations there are, the faster we can scale the number of EVs in the ReachNow fleet and make sustainable urban transportation services more widely available,” said ReachNow CEO, Steve Banfield. “Seattle is home for ReachNow and we are incredibly proud to make this much needed EV infrastructure available to the city.”

According to Alejandro Grajal, President and CEO of Woodland Park Zoo, the zoo has “the highest attendance of any cultural institution in the Puget Sound area, which will provide major visibility for the benefits of EVs and car sharing.” Woodland Park Zoo hosts over 1.3 million visitors a year and has been a forerunner of sustainability programs in the United States. In 2011, it was awarded the first LEED gold building certification of any zoo in the United States.

ReachNow is a mobility service provided by BMW. The service, which allows for free-floating car sharing, is available in Seattle, Portland and Brooklyn, and allows users to drive any BMW or MINI vehicle for fa fee. Included in the service is gas, insurance and in many locations, street parking. The service works by allowing members to pick up any available car and to drop it off anywhere within a specified region of the city for a flat rate.

One year ago, the number of EV charging stations exceeded the number of gas stations in Japan, making the country the forerunner when it comes to EV charging stations.