London’s attempts to increase the number of electric cars on its roads is being hampered by a lack of charging points, amongst other concerns. The capital currently offers drivers 1,300 public charging points at 300 sites, however, a report by the Financial Times shows that more than 40 per cent of the posts in central London are out of service.
The chaos is exacerbated by arguments between interested parties including the current operator of the service.
“London has not got its act together on electric vehicles,” said Mark Walker, UK managing director of Zipcar, one of the world’s biggest car-sharing networks. “There’s a real lack of clarity at the moment as to what London wants to achieve with EVs and what infrastructure you need to provide to make that happen.”
Transport for London set up the electric vehicle charging network at the behest of Boris Johnson, the city’s mayor, in May 2011. At the start of September, Bluepoint London took over the infrastructure network with ambitions to quadruple the number of charging points to 6,000 by 2018.
David Martell, chief executive of Chargemaster, an installer, said, “It’s very complex and very messy and the people that are suffering from this are the electric vehicle motorists in London”.
Currently, drivers pay just £5 year to Source London for free parking and free charging, however, Bluepoint is looking to charge as much as £5 per hour to park and charge in Zone 1. The company’s chairman Christophe Arnaud said he was in “constructive discussions” with partners on the project and was close to formalising a new deal with local authorities.
Mr Arnaud insists the current state of the network is exactly the same as when the company took over, with roughly 23% of charging points out of service – though the number is higher in central London.