London to get more ultra-rapid charging hubs for electric vehicles

Five more ultra-rapid charging hubs are set to be built across London as the capital continues the drive to encourage drivers to switch to electric vehicles.

These will be the first "ultra" hubs to be provided by Transport for London, which has 20 more in the pipeline and an ambition of delivering 60 across the city by the end of the decade.

Places for London, Transport for London’s property company, is releasing land to enable more vehicles to be charged in between 10 to 30 minutes.

The ultra-rapid charging hubs will be located in Hanger Lane, Canning Town, Hillingdon Circus, Hatton Cross and Tottenham Hale.

All will have at least six charging points – but Hanger Lane, near the junction of the A40 and A406 North Circular Road, will have up to 20, alongside new shops.

Seb Dance, the deputy mayor for transport, told the London EV Show on Tuesday that TfL was seeking partners to build the hubs.

There are more than 18,000 public charging points of all speeds across London but there has been a shortage of super-fast chargers, as opposed to points – often in lampposts or beside on-street residential parking – where drivers can charge their cars slowly overnight.

However concerns have been raised at a national level by the Office of Budget Responsibility that the rush to switch to electric cars by so-called wealthy “early adopters” – with the Ulez expansion giving an added incentive as e-vehicles are exempt from the levy - will reduce dramatically in the coming years.

The OBR said it expects electric vehicles to account for 18 per cent of car sales this year, down from the previous estimate of 25 per cent, and reach 38 per cent of the market by 2027, well below the 67 per cent previously predicted.

But a new report commissioned by TfL found almost a quarter of new cars bought in London last year were electric - a massive rise on the one per cent in 2018.

Mr Dance said London was "outpacing the rest of the UK" in terms of the take-up of electric cars.

At the same time, the number of newly registered diesel cars in London has fallen from 40 per cent of all new cars in 2016 to less than five per cent last year.

"This is phenomenal progress and it shows London is at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution," he said.

He criticised the Government's decision to delay the ban on new petrol and diesel cars until 2035, saying: "Cities such as London are working to make the tough calls.

"In London, road vehicles are the biggest single cause of air pollution."

The launch of ultra-fast chargers is the latest stage in Mayor Sadiq Khan’s aim of expanding the number of rapid and ultra-rapid chargers across the capital.

A year ago, at the Evening Standard’s Plug It In conference, he pledged 100 such charging points. Then in April came details of the first 39 points, across 24 sites.

Tuesday’s announcement outlines his aims for 51 more sites, taking the total to 75 sites with a total of 126 charging points.

Mr Dance also announced that two contracts for a further 51 sites for rapid charge points had been awarded to charge point operator Zest. Almost 1,000 of the charging points in London are rapid or ultra-rapid. The target is for 4,000 rapid points by 2030.

Mr Dance said: “Londoners are charging ahead with electric vehicles, registering new electric cars at a far greater rate than the rest of the UK.

“London is leading by example, with over a third of all charge points in the UK installed in our city so far. The joint venture for ultra-rapid charging hubs will make it even easier and more convenient for Londoners and local businesses to switch to electric vehicles.”