More than 300 charging points for electric cars will be fixed "by this summer", as parking fees for EV bays are also set to be introduced
Julian Rendell
24 February 2015

The first batch of 300 broken electric-car charger points in London will be fixed by summer, breaking the log-jam in repairs that has made owning an EV in London so troublesome.

Source London, which runs the network, has promised the repairs after a long-awaited new maintenance regime is unveiled later this week.

The announcement will name the first London boroughs that have signed-up for new maintenance contracts, handing full control to the French company that bought Source London from TfL last April.

"This will be the major step forward that will give us sole responsibility for maintenance at our cost," Source London boss Christophe Arnaud told Autocar.

Arnaud says Source London will start spending money on fixing broken chargers in the Boroughs who have signed up. Where the chargers can’t be fixed, he says they will be replaced with new equipment.

"We have done an audit and identified the 300 posts [chargers] that need repair or replacement. I have my hit list for repair by the summer," he said.

"We have prepared everything we need for this: spare parts, warehouse, engineers. We are aiming at 99% operability," added Arnaud.

However, Chargemaster - the biggest supplier of charging points - remains sceptical that maintenance issues can be solved fast enough to keep EV drivers moving.

"We are fixing our charging points at Chargemaster’s cost and have a very high operational level. Source London has been saying that it’s not their problem, but it jolly well is," said David Martell, boss of Chargemaster.

Arnaud says Source London will address concerns by planning two further stages of repair in autumn and winter, based on the next wave of boroughs expected to sign up to the new maintenance regime later this year.

A new feature will be centralised monitoring of each post, through the Source London control centre, which requires many charging posts to be fitted with a new communications ‘black box’ and involving building works at the road-side.

However, better reliability will come at some cost to EV drivers because later this year Source London plans to introduce parking charges for each bay.

Charges will be scaled according to TfL’s zones 1-6 used to calculate tube and bus fares, although the exact tariff has yet to be revealed.

"It will cost us more in central London than outer London, so we will set our charges accordingly," said Arnaud.

One report suggests a charge of up to £5 an hour in central London, although Source London won’t confirm that number.

The London charging network has faced reliability problems because maintenance was shared between the boroughs and charging point manufacturers, with a budget of just £480 per year per post. This has resulted in very poor reliability, with around one third of the 1400 charger points out of service.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

BMW i3

BMW made waves with Europe’s first premium-brand compact EV, and continued development means the i3 keeps upping the ante

Join the debate

Comments
1

24 February 2015
May i suggest you add the Ecotricity DC (CCS type)fast charge points )mainly located at UK motorway service stations) to your list of charging failures.
I found 4 in a row did not work last weekend on the same stretch of the M4, had i not had a range extender type vehicle i would have been stranded. They had significant government money and patronage to get these prime locations, and yet they cant be relied upon.
The government has failed miserably with electric car charge points, with multiple providers offering a very fragmented and unreliable service. I have 6 payment/access cards and still cant use all of them. Some are located in underground car parks where they cannot connect to their networks and are thus down most of the time! Incompetence is rife and govt subsidy of one sort or another prevents real competition.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK