The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a new taskforce dedicated to expanding the infrastructure needed to increase the take-up of electric vehicles across the capital.
Courtesy of Rod Allday
Sadiq Khan has brought together representatives from business, energy, infrastructure, government and London boroughs at a special event, held on 31st May this year, to mark the launch of the taskforce, which consists of 16 organisations including UK Power Networks, the British Retail Consortium and the RAC Foundation. The work of the taskforce will include technical workshops run by Transport for London over the summer and a shared Delivery Plan to be published next year.
The Mayor is encouraging London boroughs, the UK Government and all those involved in the taskforce to work together and redouble efforts to install vital rapid charging points with the overall aim of tackling London’s air pollution problem. This will involve encouraging more Londoners to switch from diesel to electric cars and driving forward the Mayor’s ambition to make London a zero-emission city.
London is already playing a leading role in decarbonisation, with the rollout of electric buses, electric taxis and the installation of 104 rapid charging points under Sadiq Khan’s watch. More than half of these new charging points are for taxis and can charge a vehicle in just 30 minutes instead of the standard eight hours. At present, the city has more rapid charging points installed than many other global cities, including New York, Stockholm and Madrid.
However, this new rapid network has mostly been limited to land or roads managed by Transport for London (TfL). The capital requires a major expansion in charging infrastructure to help businesses, taxi drivers and Londoners switch to electric, and the Mayor believes this must be delivered in partnership with the private sector.
“London’s filthy air is a public health crisis and encouraging more Londoners to switch from diesel to electric vehicles is critical in tackling it” Khan said at the launch event. “We’ve already made some great progress with the rollout of electric buses, electric taxis and rapid charging points, alongside launching the Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) for the oldest polluting vehicles in central London and bringing forward the introduction of the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission Zone. But we cannot do this alone. We’ve received huge support for this new taskforce, showing it is not just an environment or transport issue but one that is vital to the future of our city, and organisations across all sectors are stepping up and accepting they have a part to play. This initiative will support London boroughs and ensure electric vehicle infrastructure is installed in the right places, and help make our city an even better place to live.”
Christina Calderato, Transport for London's Head of Delivery Planning, added that TfL is committed to making London a zero-emission city and that the new taskforce is an important step in achieving that. TfL is installing rapid charging points across London, only licensing zero emission capable taxis and ensuring that by 2020 all single decker buses will be zero emission. TfL is also working hard with London boroughs and the private sector to ensure that London has the infrastructure needed to become an electric city.
The number of electric vehicles in London currently stands at over 10 per cent of the UK total. Alongside around 2,000 standard charge points already installed across London, at least 150 TfL-funded rapid charge points are set to be in place by the end of 2018 in addition to new infrastructure in residential neighbourhoods. The Mayor would also like to see rapid charging ‘hubs’ – a group of charging points, similar to petrol stations – set up across the city.
A £42 million fund is also already available to encourage the owners of the oldest, most-polluting diesel black cabs to retire them from the capital’s fleet. The owners of black cabs between 10 and 15 years old can apply for a grant of up to £5,000 in exchange for retiring their taxi, and cab drivers can also get up to £7,500 towards the purchase of a new vehicle.
Image: An EV charging point in Haverstock Hill, London (photo by Rod Allday)
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