By Marcus Leach
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has launched the capital's first city-wide electric charge point network and membership scheme, making it easier for electric vehicle owners to plug in whilst on the move.
With 150 new charge points operating under a single scheme, Source London is now the capital’s largest charging network. It has significantly boosted existing numbers of charge points operated by a range of different localised schemes.
By 2013, Source London will total at least 1,300 charge points, more than the number of petrol stations currently in London, ensuring the infrastructure is in place for significantly more people and businesses to buy an electric vehicle from the expanding range coming to market.
Annual membership of Source London is £100, enabling card holders to charge up at any Source London point as many times as required. Charge points are located on streets and in car parks and are instantly recognisable in Source London branding. Users simply touch their membership card to the reader on the charge point and then plug in their vehicle to charge.
Source London is also working closely with other regions to help drive the creation of a UK-wide charge point network. Plans to enable members to use both Source London and the soon to be launched East of England charge point network are currently underway. The East of England network is also set to use the same Source 'look and feel' on their charge points under a scheme called Source East.
"I want to rapidly accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles and make London the epicentre of electric driving in Europe. Increasing numbers of motorists are opting for cleaner, greener electric transport, delivering a host of benefits to the driver including a 100 per cent congestion charge discount. This is set to deliver considerable environmental benefits to our city," Boris Johnson said.
"Through Source London we want to give drivers the confidence that they can plug into this fantastic new motoring technology. We are working with a mighty coalition of motor manufacturers and private sector partners as well as London's boroughs to ensure we create world-class support for electric motoring."
The creation of an electric vehicle network is in line with the Mayor’s pledge to promote quality of life by reducing pollution and CO2 emissions. London already leads the way with the highest number of electric vehicles and charge points in the UK. Source London will maintain this edge and provide drivers with the assurance that they can charge up their vehicles whilst out and about.
In addition to producing no polluting emissions at the tailpipe, running costs for electric vehicles are significantly cheaper than for petrol or diesel vehicles which currently use fuel retailing at well over £1 per litre. The Mayor has also granted electric vehicles a 100 per cent discount for the congestion charge in London. Further savings can be found via the Government’s £5,000 consumer incentive grant which is available for a range of electric cars which also qualify for nil rate vehicle excise duty.
"Electric vehicles are no longer just for testing. There are many reasons for Londoners to consider having one of their own. Source London is a significant element of our work to support the Mayor’s aim to make this city the electric vehicle capital of Europe. The new network is destined to increase the number of electric vehicles and give drivers the confidence to use their electric vehicles across the capital," Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport for TfL, said.
Source London consists of a growing consortium (led by TfL) of public and private sector partners committed to helping the capital to embrace electric driving in greater numbers. This includes:
- Siemens have developed, at no cost to TfL, the IT Infrastructure and back office systems that will allow users to register online at - www.sourcelondon.net - and use the Source London network of points;
- Scottish and Southern Electric, in partnership with NCP, who have part-funded and installed a large number of charge points;
- Other partners include: Enterprise, Heathrow Airport, Asda Stores Limited, Capital Shopping Centre Plc, Gatwick Airport Ltd, Heathrow Airport Ltd, IKEA Ltd, Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd, Old Ford Housing Association, Sainsbury's Supermarkets Ltd, Southern Electric Power Distribution PLC, The Whittington Hospital NHS Trust, London Underground Ltd.
Electric vehicle manufacturer Nissan are offering drivers of their vehicles in London a one year free membership to Source London when they purchase a new electric vehicle. Other leading car manufacturers whose vehicles are currently on the market include Citroen, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Smith Vans and Tesla.