E-car revolution in London ‘requires thirteen-fold charging point boost'

Ross Lydall
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E-car revolution in London ‘requires thirteen-fold charging point boost'

E-car revolution in London ‘requires thirteen-fold charging point boost'

A thirteen-fold increase in the number of charging points is needed if London is to lead the world on electric cars, a report warned today.

An industry taskforce established by City Hall said Londoners were switching to electric vehicles at higher rates than the rest of the UK but there were many barriers to wider uptake.

There are about 20,600 electric cars and 1,700 electric taxis in London but the vision is for an “electric revolution” that is able to support an ambition for up to 330,000 electric vehicles by 2025.

The report called for up to 4,100 rapid charging points, capable of charging a vehicle in 20 to 30 minutes, and 47,500 slow to fast points within six years.

At present the capital has 183 rapid charging points — due to increase to 300 by the end of next year under a £18 million investment from Transport for London — and about 3,500 slower points.

Mayor Sadiq Khan today announced the first ultra-rapid charging “hub”, able to charge six or more vehicles at the same time, would launch in the Square Mile by the end of the year.

Four more will follow next year, one in the north, south, east and west of the capital, in or alongside petrol stations.

Rapid chargers are considered a priority in encouraging motorists to switch to electric. The Mayor wants all new vehicles to be zero-emission by 2030, a decade earlier than the Government’s national target.

One in 36 new vehicles registered in London is electric, either “pure” battery powered or a plug-in hybrid.

However, the cost of the vehicles, a shortage of charging infrastructure and the lack of off-street residential parking for overnight charging have slowed take-up.

There are also concerns that the national power network could become overloaded, that there is a lack of space to build pavement charging points and that charging points take so long to install that they will become obsolete.

Mr Khan said: “There’s no shying away from the fact that expanding our public charge points will be challenging.

“We need to reject the fossil fuels of the past and embrace an electric revolution in London’s transport.”

The spread of electric vehicles is being driven by the taxi and minicab trade. Addison Lee plans to have a zero-emission-capable fleet of 5,000 vehicles by 2022.

Uber plans to have all vehicles on its app electric by 2025. Zipcar aims to have a fully electric fleet by 2025.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The Mayor’s plan rightly recognises that delivering a recharging network on the scale and complexity envisaged for London will involve a multitude of players.”