As energy giants rush to invest in charging networks, London Mayor sets out plan for flagship charging hubs across the capital as part of EV Infrastructure Delivery Plan
"We must make sure all Londoners have access to the essential infrastructure required to run and maintain an electric vehicle," London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared today at the launch of his new plan to turbo-charge the city's roll out of electric vehicle (EV) charging points.
In the London EV Infrastructure Delivery Plan released today, Khan has set out an agenda to overhaul the city's approach for building out EV charge points in a bid to ensure the speedy development of a comprehensive network for EV drivers.
The plan includes provisions for more rapid chargers at petrol stations, five 'flagship charging hubs' to allow multiple cars to be charged in one place, and a new 'one-stop-shop' for Londoners to request new charging infrastructure from their local authorities.
The strategy provides the policy backbone for the Mayor's previously stated ambition to make London an EV only city by 2030.
There are currently around 175 rapid charge points across London, and a network of more than 1,000 slower chargers, including growing numbers of units that are built into lamp posts. But with EV numbers in the capital expected to jump from around 20,000 today to more than 330,000 by 2025, the Mayor today warned London must prepare for an explosion in demand for charge points.
"To truly transform the quality of our air and to tackle the climate crisis London must move away from petrol and diesel cars, with their catastrophic impact on the environment, and towards zero- emission vehicles," he said. "I want London to lead the world in this ambition, with all new cars and vans on London roads to meeting these standards by 2030, not 2040 as the government is proposing.
"To make this vision a reality we must make sure all Londoners have access to the essential infrastructure required to run and maintain an electric vehicle. This is a massive operation and can only be achieved if the public and private sector come together to deliver London's electric future."
Today's report was compiled by the Mayor's Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Taskforce, which was established in 2018 to bring together experts from the public and the private sector to consider how to unlock the barriers to EV infrastructure access across the capital.
It argues for the development of rapid charging hubs for high-mileage or business users needing to recharge quickly during the day. Multiple charge points in known locations serve to increase consumer confidence that people can find a reliable and available charger, the report notes.
The first rapid charge hub will be up and running in the City of London by the end of the year, the Mayor's Office promised today.
Meanwhile, for slower charge points primarily targeting private drivers, the report recommends a "demand-led approach", suggesting reforms to the process of requesting a new charge point for a residential area will be crucial.
Led by London Councils, the Mayor's Office said it will work to deliver a 'one-stop shop' for Londoners looking to request a new charge point in their area, replacing the current and often confusing systems governed by individual councils.
Meanwhile, a number of private sector firms are backing the programme with a wave of commitments, the Mayor's Office said.
For example, DPD plans to open eight all-electric "micro depots" in London to speed zero-emission deliveries, GeniePoint said it will install 17 rapid charge points in Morrisons supermarkets in London by the end of next year, and BP Chargemaster said it will install at least 20 ultra-rapid chargers at 10 BP petrol stations in London by the end of 2021.
The news came as it was separately revealed today that energy giant ENGIE has bought ChargePoint Services, the company behind the GeniePoint network, for an undisclosed sum, as part of the French utility's push to become a "leader in green mobility". Nicola Lovett, CEO of ENGIE UK and Ireland, said the move will improve its ability to help firms decarbonise their transport fleet.
Curbing emissions from London's business fleets was also a key focus of an event this morning marking the launch of the Taskforce report and Khan's plans to implement its recommendations.
The London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) CEO Joerg Hoffman unveiled the firm's new, zero emissions-capable light van at the event, explaining the van has been designed to curb air pollution from delivery vehicles on London's streets.
In London alone 65,000 unique journeys are made every day by light commercial vans, sparked by the rapid growth in internet shopping. In fact, light vans are the only growing vehicle segment in the capital, and diesel vans currently dominate the market, LEVC noted. As such, electrifying the sector will be essential to London's attempts to improve air quality and decarbonising its transport fleet.
LEVC is hoping its new vehicle will play a major role in the transition. Drivers of the new van will be able to collect goods from depots outside the city centre using the van's range extender mode, before switching to full electric power on city centre streets.
Hoffman said the van - made by the same firm as the electric black cab - will encourage more businesses in the capital and beyond to switch to low emission transport.
"Our success with the TX taxi has proven that even London cabbies have become converts to green logistics, with huge benefits in terms of cost savings," Hoffman said. "We're now confident we can create Green Van Man not just in the capital but throughout the UK, Europe and beyond."
For now the relatively low numbers of EVs in London has allowed the city authorities to roll out enough chargers to meet demand. But without reforms to the way planning consent for charge points are granted, grid reinforcements are approved and paid for, and greater access to rapid chargers for business drivers is delivered, the EV revolution in London could soon hit some serious roadblocks.
Khan will be hoping today's plan, the first of its kind for UK city planning, goes some way to addressing these challenges and signposts the way to an electric future for the capital.
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