The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called upon London boroughs to do more to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, by installing electric charging infrastructure on the cityâ€™s streets.
The Mayor used the occasion of the installation of the capitalâ€™s 100th TfL-funded rapid charging point to issue the call, claiming that increased investment in EV charging points across Londonâ€™s road network would contribute to improvements in air quality in the city.
Among the 100 rapid charging points in the city, 51 are for use exclusively by taxi drivers, in a bid to support the uptake of zero-tailpipe emission models by Londonâ€™s taxi sector.
According to City Hall, around 2,000 standard charge points already installed across London, and at least 150 TfL-funded rapid charge points are expected to be in place by the end of 2018.
In particular the installation of rapid charging points is seen as vital for the uptake of zero emission capable taxis in the city, as concerns over the availability of charging points â€“ particularly those which can charge at high speed â€“ is a concern for taxi drivers considering switch to electric-enabled models.
Taxis are believed to be a â€œsignificant contributorâ€ to Londonâ€™s air pollution with figures released by City Hall suggesting that they are responsible for 16% of NOx and 31% of Particulate Matter (PM2.5) from road transport emissions in central London.
From this year, no new diesel taxis are being licensed, and all taxis that are licensed for the first time will be required to be zero-emission capable.
Issuing the call to boroughs at the opening of the new charging point at Southwark Street â€“ which is a part of ChargeMasterâ€™s Polar EV charging network â€“ the Mayor said that widespread adoption of EVs will not be possible without improved charging infrastructure.
He claimed that London boroughs have the authority to install charging infrastructure on up to 95% of the capitalâ€™s roads.
The Mayor said: â€œThe roll-out of rapid charging points marks a big step forward in the shift to zero-emission vehicles, which the capital desperately needs to clean up our toxic air. But widespread change will not happen until a sufficient charging infrastructure is in place, allowing taxi drivers, businesses and Londoners to easily make the switch.
â€œOn my watch, TfL has already installed 100 new rapid charge points â€“ despite only five% of the cityâ€™s roads being under my control. However, we will only reach the numbers we need if the boroughs install these points on the 95% of the network in their control and TfL stands ready to help. I also urge private-sector businesses to work with us on expanding the network and help make lasting improvements to the capitalâ€™s air quality.â€
Lilli Matson, Transport for Londonâ€™s Director of Transport Strategy, also highlighted the contribution that cleaner taxis can make to the capitalâ€™s air quality.
She said: â€œMore taxi drivers taking fares in Londonâ€™s new green black cabs is a key part of achieving the Mayorâ€™s vision of a zero-emission city by 2050. The installation of an extensive rapid charge point network is central to enabling cabbies to ditch their dirty diesel vehicles and replace them with green alternatives.
â€œThis significant milestone demonstrates our commitment to supporting the taxi trade, commercial businesses and Londoners in joining the capitalâ€™s environmental revolution.â€