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.
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.
Sales of ultra-low emission vehicles are higher in London than anywhere else in the UK. The joint bid by the Greater London Authority (GLA), Transport for London (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.
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. The plan will also 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.
London will 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. The plan will also create eight ‘neighbourhoods of the future’ to help businesses and residents prioritise the use of ultra-low emission vehicles.
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.”