Thursday, May 31, 2018

London Taskforce to Upgrade Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Includes Freight Transport Interests

Mayor Launches New Initiative to Clean Up the Streets
Shipping News Feature
UK – The Mayor of London today launched a new taskforce dedicated to boosting the infrastructure needed to increase the take-up of electric vehicles across the capital. The news was welcomed by the road haulage community but the only industry representative organisation directly linked to the sector is the Freight Transport Association (FTA). The latest move is a major tactic in the avowed intent to reduce air pollution in the city, a policy that has already witnessed the imposition of congestion and toxicity charges in the capital.

Currently although central London boasts a faster uptake of charging technology than other cities such as New York, Stockholm and Madrid*, the 104 rapid charging points, over half for taxis and which can charge a vehicle in just 30 minutes, have mostly been delivered on land or roads managed by Transport for London** (TfL), which the mayor says is a limited resource. The capital requires a major expansion in charging infrastructure to help businesses, taxi drivers and Londoners switch to electric, and the Mayor believes this must be delivered in partnership with the private sector.

Today the Mayor gathered together representatives from business, energy, infrastructure, government and London boroughs at a special event to mark the launch of the taskforce, which comprises 16 organisations also including UK Power Networks, the British Retail Consortium and the RAC Foundation. The work of the taskforce will also be outlined, including technical workshops run by Transport for London over the summer and a shared Delivery Plan to be published next year.

In addition to petrol stations, businesses and car parks, the participation of boroughs, who manage 95% of London’s roads, is vital. Whilst boroughs have successfully installed thousands of residential charging points, more of the rapid charging points are urgently needed. Sadiq Khan commented:

”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. 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.

“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.”

Christina Calderato, Transport for London's Head of Delivery Planning, said that in addition to installing the rapid charging points, TfL was only licensing zero emission capable taxis and by 2020 all single decker buses will be zero emission. Over 10% of Britain’s electric vehicles are operating in London and, alongside around 2,000 standard charge points already installed, 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. The Mayor commented he would also like to see rapid charging ‘hubs’, a group of charging points, similar to petrol stations, set up across the city.

Vans are an essential tool in urban logistics, more so since the phenomenal growth in online shopping. The cost of electric delivery vehicles is predicted to fall as battery technology evolves and many larger industry players are already adopting such vehicles. Assistance for commercial vehicle operators looking to make a move into low or zero emission capable vehicles can already enlist help from the LoCity programme. Meanwhile the FTA will be putting the case for the road haulage sector as an integral part of the new taskforce and the FTA’s Head of Urban Policy Natalie Chapman said:

“The FTA is delighted to be part of the Mayor’s new Taskforce on electric vehicles (EVs) and is eager to work with other taskforce members to deliver an increased electric fleet, and resulting cleaner air, for London’s residents and businesses. The introduction of a resilient recharging network is key to the success of the project, and FTA’s members are clear that the new network must have capacity for rapid or overnight charging for fleets in order to ensure the success of the project. Electricity substations must also have the capacity to recharge large numbers of vehicles simultaneously.

The cost of introducing this network must not fall onto London’s logistics businesses, which will already be facing increased costs for the purchase or lease of EVs, which are more costly than existing vehicles to obtain. FTA is urging the Mayor to ensure that the cost of this implementation does not fall solely on the capital’s businesses, grants and funding need to be made available to enable logistics operators to upgrade their vans to EVs and install the requisite charging points in their business locations.”

* International Council on Clean Transportation report ‘Electric Vehicle Capitals of the World’.


** TfL electric charging point details and locator.