I’m not really sure that we can currently claim to be the Electric Car Capital of Europe, but if London Mayor Boris Johnson has anything to do with it, we will be. Boris, who had a test drive recently in the Tesla Roadster, is planning a £60 million re-charging infrastructure in London
Speaking at the Climate Change Conference in Seoul, South Korea, Boris committed London (and, more importantly, London’s taxpayers and businesses) to lead the way in Electric Car facilities, by implementing a wide-ranging scheme to install re-charging points across London.
The plan starts straight away, with charging points being put at Tube stations by the end of this year, with other charging points at car parks and in residential streets. Additionally, all new developments in London with more than five parking spaces will have to provide re-charging facilities for 20% of the spaces. The scheme is to be funded by the Government, the GLA and the private sector (no doubt placing an additional burden on hard-pressed developers to pay for the re-charging points in private car parks).
Boris (who claims to be a big EV fan – but who has a Lotus Evora on order!) reckons that by 2015 there will be 25,000 charging points in London, servicing the re-charging needs of 100,000 electric cars. When you break down the figures, the public purse is paying for 250 on-street points, 2,000 in public car parks and 50 ‘fast-charging’ points (a further 200 by 2015). The private sector is expected to cough up for 22,500.
The plug-in EV will continue to be exempt from the London Congestion Charge, and of course there is no tax levied at the horrific rates on electricity that there are on petrol and diesel. So, for now, it will be cheap and a bit more convenient to run an electric car in London.
If plug-in Electric Cars (EV) where the future, I could see the sense in this. But they’re not. They are a stop-gap. We can’t produce enough electricity for our needs as it is. Not only that, but with our reliance to a great degree on coal-powered generation of electricity, plug-in EVs are actually dirtier than any reasonably efficient diesel, which is far more practical and with a much greater range. And if Electric Cars took off in a big way, you can bet your house that every Government will soon slap huge rates of duty on electricity used for cars.
In 10 years time these re-charging stations for plug-in electric cars are going to be about as much use as the old Betamax Video player that’s been gathering dust in your loft for the last 25 years.