Electric vehicles could be given free or discounted parking in London if the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, follows hard-hitting measures recommended in a new report.
The London Assembly Environment Committee report, published today, says “60% of Londoners do not have their own garage or driveway” and would therefore need to rely on on-street charging.
“Encouraging Londoners without their own driveway or garage to get an electric vehicle is the biggest challenge for take-up, as concerns about charging points are deep-rooted,” it says.
To convince more people to make the switch to an electric car, the report recommends all London boroughs make parking free or discounted for electric vehicles. It suggests doing this in the short-term only to “drive the take up”.
A similar system is already offered in Milton Keynes, where drivers of electric cars can apply for a green permit free of charge and use 15,000 parking spaces. London's Westminster City Council also offers EV drivers lower parking rates, allowing them to pay the miminum fee but receive the maximum parking allowance of four hours.
There are around 12,000 electric cars on London’s roads, which is ten times the number that were present just five years ago. The new report states that “the growth in the number of electric vehicles is outstripping the number of charge points”, suggesting the city could quickly find itself short of chargers by a large margin.
It recommends that Transport for London provides funding for electric charging point installations, “where private sector investment is not happening quickly enough”.
This would be added to the existing On-street Residential Charging Scheme, which was introduced by the government and can be used to pay for 75% of charger installation costs. However, a spokesman for Chargemaster, one of the UK’s biggest charging point providers, said that since the funding is "ringfenced for capital expenditure", local authorities are "essentially forced to purchase charge points".
They said that reducing the restrictions on how the money could be used would enable boroughs to do "something more creative and work on a concession model with a company like us".
Today’s report notes that the “spread, location and accessibility of electric charging points is more important than the number of charging points, so a strategic pan-London approach is needed”.