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Mayor’s taskforce set up to boost London’s EV uptake

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has setup a new taskforce that he hopes will encourage boroughs, Government and all involved to work together to install rapid charging points – indirectly tackling air pollution in the city.

London already operates several private charging schemes, such as Bolloré's BlueCity electric car sharing scheme

London already operates several private charging schemes, such as Bolloré’s BlueCity electric car sharing scheme

The private sector’s involvement in the installation of new rapid charge points is being seen as “vital”, from petrol stations to businesses and car parks, and the participation of boroughs, that manage 95% of London’s roads. Encouraging Londoners to switch from diesel to electric vehicles is also being seen as crucial to both improving air quality and realising the Mayor’s ambitions for London to become a zero-emission city.

The taskforce comprises 16 organisations including UK Power Networks, Ofgem, Shell UK, SSE Enterprise, the British Retail Consortium and the RAC Foundation. The work of the taskforce will be outlined, including technical workshops run by Transport for London (TfL) over the summer, in a shared Delivery Plan is to be published next year.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “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.”

Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks which delivers electricity across London, the East and South East said: “Electric vehicles are a key part of the energy transformation that is underway, as we transition to a low carbon economy. New technologies, like vehicle batteries, will give consumers greater flexibility and choice about how they manage and use their electricity. Listening, collaborating, and sharing ideas with taskforce members and other stakeholders, at this pivotal time, will help inform the creation of a world-class smart grid for London that enables and supports the uptake of electric vehicles.”

Responding to the Mayor’s announcement that he will be setting up an electric vehicles taskforce, Caroline Russell AM, chair of the London Assembly Environment Committee, said: “The Environment Committee recently published its report into electric vehicles and we strongly called for a pan-London approach to electric vehicle charging points. It’s good to see the Mayor is moving towards this with a dedicated taskforce.

“Our report made a series of recommendations and the Committee looks forward to scrutinising the taskforce’s shared Delivery Plan, which will be published next year.”

London currently benefits from 104 rapid charging points, more than half of which are for taxis, alongside around 2,000 standard charge points. 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. However, this rapid network has mostly been delivered on land or roads managed by TfL – which is considered a limited resource. The Mayor would also like to see rapid charging ‘hubs’ – a group of charging points, similar to petrol stations – set up across the city.

Electric vehicle adoption in London has been higher than that witnessed across the rest of the UK, with an estimated 10% of the UK total of electric vehicles being in the capital city, the Mayor’s office said.

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.