The London Fire Brigade has rolled out 78 charge points for electric vehicles across the capital in a bid to meet its carbon reduction commitment and improve air quality.
The LFB has a target to reduce its C02 emissions by 32% from 1990 levels by 2016 as set out in its latest Sustainability Development Strategy.
The LFB is run by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) and is part of a group of organisationâ€™s under the umbrella of the Mayor of London and the GLA. The Mayor of London has a sustainable vision for the capital, which includes improving air quality and tackling climate change.
The charge points will be mostly only available to LFB staff but nine of the points will be publically accessible at Croydon, East Ham, Edmonton, Finchley, Hainault, Harold Hill, Hornsey, Ilford and New Malden fire stations.
LBF secured funding of Â£592,000 to cover 75% of the cost of installation and the remainder was covered by Chargemaster, the company that installed the points. Chargemaster won a competitive tender and as well as installing, will now also manage the charge points.
According to Transport for London, across the capital the majority of journeys are under 10km. This means that most journeys could be carried out by electric vehicles, which would greatly reduce air pollution.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, said: â€œElectric cars offer big environmental benefits and play an important part in keeping London clean.
â€œThe new charging network not only makes it easy and convenient to charge up a carâ€™s battery making electric cars easier to use, but also reaffirms London Fire Brigadeâ€™s commitment to lead on sustainability in the fire service and reducing our impact on the environment.â€
Chargemaster chief executive, David Martell, said: â€œWe are committed to increasing the uptake of electric motoring in the UK and to make it as convenient as possible for motorists.â€
There is a minimum charge of one hour and the driver is charged from the time the connector is plugged in to the time it is removed, rounded to the nearest minute. Drivers can choose from various different tariffs, the levels of these have been set on a cost recovery basis.
Charge points have been installed at 71 fire stations and five other LFB sites, one of which has had three points installed. Each point provides two sockets meaning that in total there are charging points for 156 individual vehicles at any one time.
Currently the LFB has five electric cars through its lease car scheme (similar to a company car scheme) but it hopes to add a further five to its fleet (vehicles owned by the LFB) at the end of the year with additional Government funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
Once funding is secured there will be a two-year trial whereby the five cars will be tested by various operational staff to get a good range of experience of users. If successful the five cars will then become part of the LFB fleet.
Last year the LFB tested its first zero emissions blue-light vehicle – the BMWi3 – which has a top speed of 90mph and a range of up to 100 miles. The vehicle was used by senior officers to attend incidents and test performance and suitability and the results of the trial are currently under review.