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Mayor sets out plans for London’s electric vehicle future at IET London: Savoy Place

To tackle the twin dangers of London’s toxic air crisis and the climate change emergency, the Mayor has brought together the public and private sector to deliver the electric vehicle infrastructure Londoners need. This includes commitments by businesses and retailers to transform EV charging provision in London over the coming years.

Sadiq declared: “We need to reject the fossil fuels of the past and embrace an electric revolution in London’s transport.”

London’s plan follows the Mayor’s establishment of the world’s first Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Taskforce, bringing together representatives from business, energy, infrastructure, government and the London boroughs. The past year has seen more than 140 organisations contribute to the work of the Taskforce.

London is at the forefront of the zero-emission revolution with more than 20,000 electric vehicles, 1,700 electric taxis and Europe’s largest electric bus fleet. Today’s plan builds on TfL’s successful rollout of over 175 rapid charge points across the city (delivering a full charge in 20 - 30 minutes) and a growing network of over 1,100 lamp post charging points delivered by boroughs in residential areas.  This has been complemented by the rollout of the world’s first ever Ultra Low Emission Zone, enforcing tough new emission standards in central London which are helping drive companies to electrify their fleets.

Currently, the rollout of the charging infrastructure is in line with the demand for electric vehicles but London needs an electric revolution.  This plan estimates the number of charge points required in the next five years, based on different scenarios for the growth of EVs and looks at how this can be delivered with less public subsidy and without installing points which are underused or outdated.

Making it easier for Londoners to make the switch from diesel to electric cars is a key part of reducing toxic traffic emissions and realising the Mayor’s ambition of becoming a zero-emission city. The Taskforce and other industry partners will support the Mayor in driving forward a number of initiatives in the plan including:

  • Installing the next generation of ultra-rapid charging points at London petrol stations later this year
  • Delivering five flagship charging hubs, with the ability for multiple cars to quickly be charged in one place. The first of these hubs will be operational in the heart of the Square Mile by the end of the year.
  • A new ‘one-stop-shop’ for Londoners to request new charging infrastructure from their local authority in areas of high demand led by London Councils, making it easier for drivers to switch to electric vehicles
  • Expanding electric car clubs and bringing more vehicles to market, offering greater choice to Londoners and businesses
  • New online smart tools to ensure London’s energy grid continues to keep pace with demand and to help unlock private sector investment.

Speaking at the launch of the London EV Infrastructure Delivery Plan at the Institution of Engineering and Technology today, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “London’s air is so dirty and polluted that it amounts to nothing less than a serious public health crisis. It breaches legal limits and blights the lives of Londoners, resulting in thousands of premature deaths every year. We are also facing a climate emergency that threatens the long-term security and wellbeing of every Londoner.

“We need to reject the fossil fuels of the past and embrace an electric revolution in London’s transport. 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. 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.”

Colin Herron, a member of the IET’s Manufacturing Policy Panel and managing director of taskforce facilitator Zero Carbon Future, added: “Public awareness [of climate change] is growing on a weekly basis, but we need to make sure that this plan is technology driven, not emotion driven. We can say that we want x million vehicles by next year, but if nobody is making them in significant numbers, we won’t have them.

“Engineers and technologists will play a vital role in the delivery of this plan – it’s a very exciting time for engineers who will be at the forefront of carbon-free transport. With the current shortage of engineers, we need to consider how we recruit and retain the next generation of engineering talent and upskill the current workforce.”

The plan outlines how London is on track to deliver the necessary infrastructure for a radical growth in electric vehicles, which estimates show could increase from around 20,000 today to over 330,000 by 2025. This will be driven by a combination of new low-emission regulations, a supportive policy at all levels of government and a decrease in the cost of electric vehicles.

London currently hosts 25 per cent of the UK’s electric vehicle charge points - more than any other UK region, with 2,400 public chargers spread over 1,200 locations. The Mayor has made the installation of rapid charge points (delivering a full charge in 20-30 minutes) a priority, to encourage high-mileage drivers to switch to electric vehicles. London’s rapid charging network far exceeds major cities such as New York, Madrid and Amsterdam and the city is now recognised as one of 25 capitals around the world, accounting for half of all electric vehicles.