By Roy L Hales
A spokesperson from Fastned said negotiations have been going on for the past year and a half. This morning Transport for London (TfL) announced the Dutch EV fast charging company is one of the five successful bidders. The other charging companies are Bluepoint London, the Centrica Consortium, Chargemaster and Electricity Supply Board (ESB). London’s first 75 charging points should be operational by the end of the year. By 2020, there could be 300. The first steps towards London’s transportation sector going electric have been taken.
London’s Transportation Sector Going Electric
London’s air pollution levels passed Beijing’s earlier this year.
“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,” said Ben Plowden, TfL’s Director of Surface Strategy and Planning.
A £18million fund was established to upgrade the city’s power supply and build rapid charge points.
Make EV Charging Easy For The Public
In their press release, TfL describes some of the steps being taken to make EV charging easy for the public:
“The creation of a competitive market is aimed at keeping prices low and a maximum rate will be guaranteed for pay-as-you-go users for the first two years. The contract is set up to create the best possible experience for customers. Drivers will be able to pay at the charge point using a credit or debit card and it will not be compulsory to sign up to a membership or subscription scheme. The integrated network means drivers can use all five suppliers at no additional cost, making it easier to do business when using a zero-emission vehicle.”
“Customers will be supported by 24-hour, seven-day-a-week call centres and have the latest information at their fingertips, such as the location and availability of charging points, both on the web and through apps. The location data will be made available, tapping into the creativity of the app-developing community….”
TfL is specifically targeting taxis. Many of the new stations will be dedicated exclusively to their use. All new cabs will need to be zero-emission capable as of January 1, 2018. Many of the new charging stations will be dedicated to their use. TfL will introduce a voluntary decommissioning scheme to remove the oldest taxis from the fleet. Owners of taxis over 10 years old could be fined up to £5,000, depending on the age of their vehicles. TfL and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles are offering taxi drivers up to £7,500 towards their purchase of a new zero emission capable black cab.
“My team have worked tirelessly with TfL over the last year to meet the demanding criteria. Air quality is a huge problem in London and the new electric-powered London taxis will make a significant difference over the next few years. We are delighted to be part of the programme and provide charging solutions across the city to support the next generation of the famous London taxi,” said David Martell, Chief Executive of Chargemaster Plc.
“This investment in London’s infrastructure … will help to shape a new competitive market for rapid charging points, preparing for new taxis as we look to phase out diesel and make the move towards ultra-low emission vehicles to help clean up London’s toxic air,” said Shirley Rodrigues, London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment.
Top photo Credit: London Air Pollution View from Hackney April 10 2015 by David Holt via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)