London drives forward electric vehicle plan

London’s transport authorities plan to install 300 rapid charge stations around the city by 2020. In a related bid to clean up with city’s dirty air, all taxis licensed after 1 January 2018 will need to be zero-emission capable.

London’s traffic is undergoing a green revolution. The city’s transport authorities – Transport for London (TfL) – have announced that they will expand a rapid charging network capable of power electric vehicles in just 30 minutes.

According to a TfL statement, 75 charging points will be installed by the end of the year, with the network growing to 150 by the end of 2018 and 300 by 2020. The charging points will be installed and operated by several companies selected through a competitive bidding process. TfL is investing £18 million in the project.

The charging points will feature a ‘pay as you go’ scheme, making it easier for drivers to pay using a credit or debit card without having to sign up for a membership. The integrated network means that drivers can use charging points from any of the five suppliers at no additional cost. Websites and apps will provide the latest information on the location and availability of charging points.

“Urgent action needs to be taken to clean up London’s toxic air and rid the capital of the most polluting vehicles,” said Ben Plowden of TfL. “An extensive rapid charging network is fundamental in helping drivers make the shift from fossil fuels to electric.”

The city’s taxis will also soon make a contribution to improving the city’s air quality. Beginning 1 January 2018, all new taxis will have to be zero-emission capable. Many of the new charging points will also be dedicated exclusively for taxis by the end of next year to help green up London’s iconic black cab fleet.

Earlier this year, the London Taxi Company inaugurated a new, £300 million electric vehicle manufacturing facility, the first of its kind in the world dedicated to producing purpose-built, mass-market electric taxis. As we reported here, the hybrid cabs are designed to travel up to 110 kilometres on electric power alone, cutting carbon emissions and contributing to a reduction of London’s air pollution.

Shirley Rodrigues, deputy mayor for the environment, called the latest investment into London’s infrastructure “great news” for the capital.

“It will help to shape a new competitive market for rapid charging points, preparing for new taxis as we look to phase out diesel and make the move towards ultra-low emission vehicles to help clean up London’s toxic air,” Rodrigues said.


Image credit: Judy van der Velden, flickr/Creative Commons

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