Transport for London has appointed the suppliers to provide its rapid charging points needed to, as the organisation puts it, make it easier than ever before to use electric vehicles.
TfL says that, after a competitive bidding process, the Centrica Consortium, BluepointLondon, Chargemaster, Electricity Supply Board (ESB) and Fastned were successful and will fund, maintain, operate and install the network.
The first will be operational within a matter of months, and will be capable to power vehicles in close to 30 minutes, compared with the three to four hours when using a standard unit. The initial aim is to see 75 charging points in the ground by the end of this year, with the network growing to 150 by the end of 2018 and 300 fully functioning by 2020.
TfL says it is working with the boroughs and investing £18million to unlock potential sites, including upgrading the power supply. Strategic hubs are also being evaluated on arterial roads, owned and maintained by TfL, and on private land, including Heathrow Airport and multiple Shell service stations. These are off-road locations that have potential to house a number of rapid charge points.
Ben Plowden, TfL’s Director of Surface Strategy and Planning, said, “Urgent action needs to be taken to clean up London’s toxic air and rid the Capital of the most polluting vehicles. An extensive rapid charging network is fundamental in helping drivers make the shift from fossil fuels to electric. This is particularly important for the taxi and private hire trades and the fleet and freight sector, which over the next few years will be looking to dramatically increase the number of journeys made with zero-exhaust emissions.”
New taxis licensed after 1 January 2018 will need to be zero-emission capable, to help clean up London’s dirty air. This charging network will be vital in assisting the greening of London’s iconic black cab fleet, with many charging points dedicated exclusively to their use by the end of next year.