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Rapid charging network rolled out across London for electric vehicles

Image credit: Dreamstime

A network of rapid charging points for electric vehicles has been rolled out across London by Mayor Sadiq Khan.

It includes 51 points for use by taxis and is part of a bid to improve the capital’s air quality, by helping phase out the use of diesel and encouraging the use of zero-emission vehicles.

As of this year no more diesel taxis are being licensed, and all taxis that are licensed for the first time need to be zero-emission capable. 

This has prompted a necessary infrastructure upgrade and Transport for London (TfL) is investing £18m into developing potential sites for charging and upgrading electricity grids.

Over the past six months it has worked with suppliers on the installation of 100 rapid charge points across the capital where a vehicle can be charged in 20 to 30 minutes, compared to the seven or eight hours it takes at regular charging points.

They offer 24/7 support and online information on locations and availability, the network allows drivers to use all points regardless of the supplier and pay by credit or debit card, with no requirement to sign up to a membership scheme.

Cleaning up London’s toxic air requires a shift to cleaner, greener, electric vehicles which has prompted the government to encourage taxi drivers to switch to low-emission vehicles.

Taxis are a significant contributor to poor air quality in the capital and are responsible for 16 per cent of NOx and 31 per cent of Particulate Matter (PM2.5) road transport emissions in central London.

A greener fleet could reduce harmful NOx emissions from taxis by 45 per cent in central London by 2020, TfL said.

The Mayor also wants more Londoners to switch to electric vehicles for personal use, as well as businesses, and is committed to working with the private sector to continue the expansion of charging infrastructure.

New research published today by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), found that bringing forward the move to phase out sales of new petrol and diesel cars and van‎s from 2040 to 2030 would result in a 30 per cent reduction in pollution in 2030.

“The roll-out of rapid charging points marks a BIG step forward in the shift to zero-emission vehicles, which the capital desperately needs to clean up our toxic air,” Khan said. “But widespread change will not happen until a sufficient charging infrastructure is in place, allowing taxi drivers, businesses and Londoners to easily make the switch.

“On my watch, TfL has already installed 100 new rapid charge points – despite only five per cent of the city’s roads being under my control. However, we will only reach the numbers we need if the boroughs install these points on the 95 per cent of the network in their control, and TfL stands ready to help. I also urge private-sector businesses to work with us on expanding the network and help make lasting improvements to the capital’s air quality.”

“The number of electric vehicles in London stands at 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.”

London’s congestion charge is set to be extended next year when the most heavily polluting cars and vans will face a daily fee of £12.50 to enter the city centre. It will then be extended as far as the North and South Circular roads in 2021. 

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