LONDON UK, May 11, 2017 (ENS) - Rapid charge points that power electric vehicles in 30 minutes will be installed across London in the next few months, according to the local government body responsible for the city's transport system, Transport for London.
Transport for London (TfL) is working with the boroughs and investing £18 million to unlock potential sites and upgrade the power supply.
Shirley Rodrigues, deputy mayor for environment, said, "This investment in London's infrastructure is 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."
The charge points will be installed quickly, with the first being operational within months. They will power vehicles in close to 30 minutes, compared with the three to four hours when using a standard unit.
The initial goal is to see 75 charging points in the ground by the end of this year, with the network growing to 150 by the end of 2018 and 300 fully functioning by 2020.
Strategic hubs are being evaluated on arterial roads owned and maintained by TfL, and on private land, including Heathrow Airport and multiple Shell service stations. Each of these off-road locations has the potential to house a number of rapid charge points.
"An extensive rapid charging network is fundamental in helping drivers make the shift from fossil fuels to electric," said
Transport for London's Director of Surface Strategy and Planning Ben Plowden.
"Urgent action needs to be taken to clean up London's toxic air and rid the capital of the most polluting vehicles," Plowden emphasized.
"This is particularly important for the taxi and private hire trades and the fleet and freight sector, which over the next few years will be looking to dramatically increase the number of journeys made with zero-exhaust emissions," he said.
New taxis licensed after January 1, 2018 will need to be zero-emission capable, to help clean up London's dirty air.
This charging network will be vital in assisting the greening of London's famous black cab fleet, with many charging points dedicated exclusively to their use by the end of 2018.
Customer-friendly scheme means drivers can pay as they go using a credit or debit card, without having to sign up to membership.
Transport for London (TfL) has appointed the suppliers who will provide the rapid charging points that the UK capital needs to make it easier than ever to use electric vehicles.
After a competitive bidding process, the Centrica Consortium, BluepointLondon, Chargemaster, Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and Fastned were successful. They will fund, maintain, operate and install the charging network.
The creation of a competitive market is aimed at keeping prices low and a maximum rate will be guaranteed for pay-as-you-go users for the first two years. The contract is set up to create the best possible experience for customers.
Drivers will be able to pay at the charge point using a credit or debit card and it will not be compulsory to sign up to a membership or subscription scheme.
The integrated network means drivers can use all five suppliers at no extra cost, making it easier to do business when using a zero-emission vehicle.
Customers will be supported by 24-hour, seven-day-a-week call centers and have the latest information at their fingertips, such as the location and availability of charging points, both on the web and through apps.
The location data will be made available, tapping into the creativity of the app-developing community.
Councillor Julian Bell, who chairs London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee, said, "We welcome this next step to provide rapid electric vehicle charging points in the capital, which play an important role for business users of electric vehicles in particular. We look forward to seeing these rolled out across all boroughs in the coming months and years."
Prices will be published by the suppliers closer to the charge points going live.
The support of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Transport for London will give taxi drivers up to £7,500 off the cost of a new zero emission capable black cab.
TfL will introduce a voluntary decommissioning scheme from mid-2017 until 2020 to remove the oldest taxis from the fleet. Owners of taxis over 10 years old will be able to claim a payment of up to £5,000, depending on the age of the vehicle.
Officials hope these plans will encourage drivers to ditch the most polluting vehicles and go electric to help clean up London's dirty air.
PHOTO: Young man in a hurry charges up at a Chargemaster rapid charging station. (Photo courtesy Chargemaster Plc)