Electric cars should get free or discounted parking in London, says report

by Sam Sheehan, Autocar UK 24 May 2018


EVs are labelled as a key solution to London's fight against transport emissions

Electric vehicles could be given free or discounted parking in London if the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, follows hard-hitting measures recommended in a new report.

The London Assembly Environment Committee report, published today, says “60% of Londoners do not have their own garage or driveway” and would, therefore, need to rely on on-street charging.

“Encouraging Londoners without their own driveway or garage to get an electric vehicle is the biggest challenge for take-up, as concerns about charging points are deep-rooted,” it says.

To convince more people to make the switch to an electric car, the report recommends all London boroughs make parking free or discounted for electric vehicles. It suggests doing this in the short-term only to “drive the take up”.

A similar system is already offered in Milton Keynes, where drivers of electric cars can apply for a green permit free of charge and use 15,000 parking spaces.

There are around 12,000 electric cars on London’s roads, which is ten times the number that were present just five years ago. The new report states that “the growth in the number of electric vehicles is outstripping the number of charge points”, suggesting the city could quickly find itself short of chargers by a large margin.

It recommends that Transport for London provides funding for electric charging point installations, “where private sector investment is not happening quickly enough”.

This would be added to the existing On-street Residential Charging Scheme, which was introduced by the government and can be used to pay for 75% of charger installation costs. However, a spokesman for Chargemaster, one of the UK’s biggest charging point providers, pointed out that this method is less effective because councils may be unable to provide even 25% of money towards new chargers because of the Government’s ongoing austerity measures.

“If it will cost a council £100,000 (Rs 91 lakh) to install some charge points, that means they still need to fund £25,000 (Rs 22 lakh),” they said. “Charge points are unlikely to be as high of a priority as other issues, such as social care, so councils are less likely to do this.”

But today’s report notes that the “spread, location and accessibility of electric charging points is more important than the number of charging points, so a strategic pan-London approach is needed”.

Leonie Cooper, a former chair of the environment committee, said, “We need to get the number and location of charging points right, as well as raise awareness of charging points in the capital.”

“This infrastructure is essential if London is to continue the electric vehicles revolution.”

Sadiq Khan has been active in pushing through legislation to lower transport emissions in the capital. He introduced a new T-charge for the dirtiest models last year and recently launched a network of 100 new EV chargers that can be used by taxi drivers of the new LEVC TX.

While he does not legally have to follow any of the recommendations outlined in today’s report, the London Assembly Environment Committee has previously encouraged Mayors to take its action.

 

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