This month, as part of widespread World Environment Day action, the Mayor of London announced the forming of a new taskforce dedicated to expanding the infrastructure needed to increase the adoption of electric vehicles in the city.
The taskforce comprises 16 organization, including UK Power Networks, the British Rail Consortium and the RAC Foundation, a transport policy and research organization. Its work will include technical workshops run over the summer and a shared Delivery Plan to be published next year.
London sees urging Londoners to switch from diesel to electric cars as being crucial to tackling the city’s air pollution problem and achieving its ambition of becoming a zero-emission city.
“I’m delighted to launch a new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Taskforce today, bringing together industry, businesses and the public sector to work together to deliver electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the capital. London’s filthy air is a public health crisis, and encouraging more Londoners to switch from diesel to electric vehicles is critical in tackling it,” said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
Recently, researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Bath found that air pollution from cars and vans hits the United Kingdom’s National Health Service and society at large with a £6 billion bill in health costs each year.
There are currently 644 electric vehicle charging points across London, with another 2,630 planned for rollout by the end of 2018/19. Of these, 128 are open access rapid charging points, including those installed by private sector organizations. Electric vehicles currently make up over 10 per cent of the UK vehicle fleet.
“We’ve already made some great progress with the rollout of electric buses, electric taxis and rapid charging points, alongside launching the Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) for the oldest polluting vehicles in central London and bringing forward the introduction of the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission Zone. But we cannot do this alone,” said Mayor Sadiq.
“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,” he said.
Currently, most of the rapid charging points reside on land and roads owned by Transport for London, but this is a small area– the London boroughs manage 95 per cent of London’s roads.
The Mayor’s office also announced the expansion from October 2021 of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone and strict emissions standards that will apply to buses, coaches and lorries across London from October 2020, the combined effect being that 100,000 fewer London residents living in areas exceeding legal air quality limits in 2021.
The Ultra-Low Emission Zone will begin in central London from April 2019.