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Electric charging station
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TfL says London needs 60,000 electric charge points by 2030

The capital needs to meet the demands of soaring electric car ownership

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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By 2030, London will look a lot different. It’ll be a heaven for cyclists and pedestrians, with huge green spaces and loads of trees. Public transport will be swisher, greener and more efficient, and electric cars will glide through the streets in zero-carbon, emission-free silence. Or at least that’s the plan.  

The man with that plan is mayor Sadiq Khan, and his latest scheme focuses on electric vehicles (EVs). Last week a TfL report, the rather unsexily-titled ‘2030 electric vehicle infrastructure strategy’, revamped the push for EVs, calling for up to 60,000 charging points throughout London by 2030. 

The report is part of TfL’s wider drive to clean-up London’s air quality. Christina Calderato, TfL’s director of transport strategy and policy, told the Evening Standard:

‘London’s toxic air reduces the length and quality of lives across the city and contributes to climate change. Improved electric vehicle infrastructure can support more essential trips being made using zero-emission transport, which will help tackle the twin dangers of air pollution and the climate emergency.’

Currently there are only around 7,000 public charging points in London. 300 of those are ‘rapid’, meaning that they fully charge a battery in 30 minutes (which is very speedy – normal chargers can take 7-8 hours). TfL estimate that by the start of the new decade, the city will need between 40,000 and 60,000 electric vehicle charging points, and that 4,000 of those will need to be of the 'rapid' variety. 

The good news is that London’s already made a decent start. In the last year alone, 2,000 EV charging points have been installed across the city. While lots of those are reserved exclusively for black cabs, it shows that a huge-scale rollout is certainly achievable.

Of course, even 100 percent electric vehicles are only zero-emission if the electricity used to charge them is generated from renewable sources. TfL's idea is that if all car drivers can be driving EVs, London and the UK will be better poised to eventually go fully fossil-fuel-free.

Demand for electric vehicles has surged (no pun intended) by more than 30 percent in the UK over the past year. In London, that’s no doubt due in part to the upcoming expansion of the ULEZ, which is coming into place next week (on October 25, to be exact).

The main obstacle for many getting electric cars is the lack of charging stations. Compared to the around 500 petrol stations in London, EV charging points take much longer to use, and can only be used one at a time. In other words, we need many, many more of them to make EVs a viable alternative. Or, of course, you could just get the bus.

Or should things get more radical? There’s a campaign to get London car owners to pay by-the-mile

And… there’s an ambitious new plan to reach net zero in all London properties

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