The prospect of thousands of electric cars driving round London’s streets came a step closer today as Sadiq Khan announced a £4.5 million investment in 1,500 new charging points across the capital.
Transport for London and the capital’s town halls will roll-out the new green charging infrastructure – which will almost double the number of points – over the course of 2018.
It comes after the Government last week announced a ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 to help tackle the country’s toxic air problem.
But Mr Khan, environmentalists and some motoring experts accused it of falling short of what is needed to deal swiftly with toxic air — which is blamed for a death toll of about 9,000-a-year in the capital alone.
The chosen boroughs – 25 of London’s 32 – will each receive up to £300,000 of government cash to install the standard charging points, which take between four and eight hours to charge a family car, in residential areas.
Town hall officials will now identify sites where charging points could be installed. Some of the cash could be spent on new approaches such as using lamp posts as the base and power supply for charge points, which would be cheaper and quicker to roll out with less impact on the streetscape.
They believe the scheme will help motorists without access to off-street parking to make the switch from polluting vehicles to zero-emissions ones more easily. More money will follow next year if the scheme is successful.
The new points will be in addition to the network of 150 rapid charge points for taxis and commercial fleets that TfL is installing by 2018.
Mr Khan, who wants all new road vehicles driven in London to be zero emission by 2040, said: “This substantial investment in electric charging points will make a real difference, making electric vehicles an easier and more practical option for Londoners across our city.
“We have a bold ambition to make London’s transport system zero emission by 2050, and working with boroughs to roll out more charging infrastructure is a vital part of making this a reality.”
The money for this tranche of charging points comes from the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles’ ‘Go Ultra Low City’ scheme.
But the Mayor called on ministers to “step up” their investment in charging infrastructure so every Londoner could consider going electric over coming years.
Julian Bell, London Councils’ transport and environment spokesman, said: “Improving London’s air quality by reducing emissions is a real priority for our city. It is unacceptable that 9,000 people a year die early in London due to air pollution.
“So it is great to see London boroughs bidding to invest in conveniently located electric vehicle charging points. This will help to ensure we have infrastructure in the right places to make it easier for people across the capital to choose electric vehicles.”
The only boroughs not to receive the funding are Barking & Dagenham, Bromley, Enfield, Haringey, Harrow, Hillingdon, Kingston and Sutton.
Mr Khan’s draft transport strategy also aims for all taxis and minicabs to be zero-emissions capable by 203 and buses by 2037, while London’s entire transport system would be zero emission by 2050.
He has called for a national diesel scrappage scheme although ministers are understood to believe it would be too expensive.