London Gets £13m to Boost Electric Vehicles

London is one of the four UK cities that will become international pioneers of green vehicle technology, after getting £13 million (€17m)  to boost the number of plug-in cars on their roads.

The Mayor of London and the Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee have welcomed £13m of new funding to encourage the greater use of electric and ultra-low emission vehicles. By 2020 Londoners are expected to own as many as 70,000 ultra-low emission vehicles, and it is planned that the new funding will be particularly targeted at providing more electric charging points in residential areas of the city.

The funding announcement forms part of a Government scheme called ‘Go Ultra Low Cities’ that aims to make the use of electric and sustainable vehicles easier. The Mayor has long supported the use of electric vehicles and in the capital drivers who use them qualify for a one hundred per cent discount on the congestion charge and many boroughs support them by providing free parking.

The winning Go Ultra Low Cities – Nottingham, Bristol, Milton Keynes and London – will receive funding that encourages thousands of people to consider switching to an electric car. In turn, this will support the UK’s thriving green vehicle sector, improve air quality in urban hotspots and help the government meets its emission-cutting targets.

[Read Deputy Mayor of London: Diesel NOT the Right Thing for Cities]

Sales of ultra-low emission vehicles are higher in London than anywhere else in the UK. The joint bid by the GLA, TfL and London’s boroughs made a clear case to government that having a capital city driving demand for that technology benefits the entire country. A new zero emission capable taxi has secured £300m of investment and jobs in Coventry and independent economic assessments show that the use of ultra-low emission vehicles in London could benefit the UK by up to £230m a year by 2050.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “We have some extremely exciting strategies in place to encourage the greater use of ultra-low emission vehicles in London and this is a key component of our work to improve air quality. This funding is very welcome as it will help provide the infrastructure necessary to encourage even more Londoners to use ultra-low emission vehicles.

London Gets £13m to Boost Electric Vehicles
New London electric bus – Courtesy of Transport for London

Plans for the use of the new funding are still being finalised but the bid submitted to government proposed that London will:

  • Develop a new partnership between the Mayor’s Office, TfL and London’s boroughs to provide more charging points in residential areas that will help Londoners without off-street parking. In outer London 33 per cent of households have no access to off-street parking and this rises to 46 per cent in inner London.
  • Work with car clubs to explore the electrification of their fleet. The car club industry has committed to 50 per cent of their vehicles to be electric within ten years.
  • Strengthen its plans for rapid charging hubs across the capital, to meet the needs of commercial operators including taxis, private hire and delivery vans. TfL has a target of having 300 rapid chargers in the capital by 2020.
  • Create eight ‘neighbourhoods of the future’ to help businesses and residents prioritise the use of ultra-low emission vehicles.

Cllr Julian Bell, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee and Leader of the London Borough of Ealing, also welcomed the announcement and said: “It is fantastic news that London has successfully made the case for a £13m investment in ultra-low emissions vehicles in the capital, which have the potential to improve air quality and therefore make a real difference to people’s health. London Councils is committed to supporting the boroughs in making ultra-low emissions vehicles more accessible, as they are responsible for 95 per cent of the road network in London and have an in-depth understanding of their local communities.”

London’s air quality has improved significantly in recent years but with 80 per cent of all journeys made by road, increasing the use of ultra-low emission vehicles is an important part of that work. The new funding adds to London’s efforts to do so which include:

  • The world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will come into force in 2020. This is expected to almost halve emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM10) from vehicle exhausts in central London.
  • Amending the congestion charge discount so only the cleanest vehicles are incentivised.
  • Continuing to expand the world’s largest green bus fleet, with a commitment for 3,000 hybrid-buses and 300 zero emission single deck buses by 2020.
  • Commitments to expand the public sector ultra-low emission vehicle fleet, including London Fire Brigade’s £600,000 plan for its support cars to be electric vehicle.
  • A new Low Emission Commercial Vehicle Programme to accelerate development and uptake of low emission commercial vehicles and a new approach to install rapid charging hubs across the capital to meet commercial operators’ needs.
  • Continuing to work with the private sector to expand public charge point provision across the capital.

London Gets  £13m to Boost Electric Vehicles