A five day-long, 1200 mile electric vehicle rally travelled through the capital on July 7 on its route from John O’Groats to Land’s End in order to highlight the importance of Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure and clean, innovative vehicle technology across the country. The rally stopped at a high-tech charging station in central London and near Ilford (Redbridge), demonstrating the key role charging stations play in encouraging the transition from petrol and diesel vehicles. The number of charging points inside the M25 varies widely.
According to the latest figures from the Department for Transport (as of April), all but one of the West London boroughs are in the top 20% of UK local authorities in terms of charging point availability per 100,000 inhabitants, but not East London, with Havering actually around 20% at the top and Bexley and Bromley around 30% at the bottom. Havelin actually has fewer charging points than the Isle of Wight or Orkney, despite having more populations than the two combined.
The biggest highlight is Harrow, which, unlike the rest of West London, now ranks in the bottom 20% of charging points per 100,000 inhabitants, and the bottom half of the total number of devices. In April, it had only 49 devices, of which only 8 were “fast” (i.e. capable of charging an average electric car in 30 minutes). Most of the charging stations in the area are in Harrow Town Centre and West Harrow, but there are none in some of the largest population centres in the borough such as Stanmore and Canons Park.
This has been the case for years, with the City of Westminster leading the pack with 1292 charging points, 43 times more than Havering. Westminster has some of the UK’s most important buildings in its borough that are interested in providing dedicated car parks for electric vehicles. As EVs are exempt from the TfL Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), which will extend from the North South Ring Road to the Greater London border, the worst performing boroughs (Havelin, Harrow, Bexley and Bromley) will be under great pressure), everything will be included in the new expansion pack.
Graeme Cooper, Head of Future Markets at National Grid, which organised the rally, said: “Energy networks have a critical role to play in enabling the transition to clean transport, ensuring the right wires are in the right places to support fast, reliable chargers. With the phase out of diesel cars and vans approaching, the GB Electric Vehicle rally is a great opportunity to prove the availability and reliability of existing charging infrastructure, bust some Electric Vehicle myths, and highlight the need to think about appropriate charging facilities for all vehicles including buses, coaches and trucks.”
Reliability at charging points across London is good, despite the spotty availability, with a range of different charging options for electric cars, not just Tesla’s solutions, but larger commercial vehicles as well. Fast-charging stations with multiple secure chargers are popping up all over the city, including in Woolwich next to the ferry terminal. Electric taxis also have special chargers to encourage usage. TfL expects to launch an electric bus pantograph trial in the next few months, and Hayes’ new electric bus garage will officially open in a few weeks.
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