Photo: B> Alter
London's electric car charging points are in for a big boost. There are 250 publicly-accessible charge points now. By 2012 there will be 1,300 across the city.
There will be more charging points than gas stations, which is quite a coup when you think about it.
Photo : B. Alter
There are currently 17,000 hybrid and pure electric vehicles being used in Greater London. The Mayor wants to boost this to 100,000 and make London the electric capital of Europe by making it easier to charge them. Source London is the UK's first citywide electric vehicle charging point network and membership scheme. It will cost £100 to join and then members will be able to charge up their car at any Source London point, whenever they need to.
Many of the charge points will be located in parking lots, near the subway, supermarkets and shopping centres, as well as residential streets.
Since one of the main drawbacks for would-be buyers of electric cars is the fear that they will be left without any electricity, this could be a major boost to get more people to go electric. Already, electric car owners do not have to pay the £10 daily congestion charge which is another good reason to buy one. There is also a Plug-In Car Grant available which pays 25% towards the cost of an electric car, to a maximum of £5,000, to encourage people to buy electric or plug-in hybrids. They are working towards developing a national charging network which would be interchangeable between cities.
It's all part of Mayor Boris Johnson's big transportation plans for the city. He got the Barclays Cycle Hire going, the bicycle rental scheme. The Mayor is so much associated with that programme that the bikes are called, affectionately or not, Boris Bikes.
One of the Mayor's election promises was to re-introduce the much-loved double decker bus and get rid of the much-hated bendy buses. There was a competition and now the winning bus has been unveiled, ready to hit the roads. Five will enter service early next year, with the full fleet of 30 to 40 in service by 2013.
Called the New Routemaster (the old one was simply the Routemaster), the new hybrid model produces 35% less emissions than a diesel bus, 15% less even than a hybrid car, and is produced almost entirely in Britain. GPS technology will allow them to switch to electric power in traffic hotspots, improving air quality in congested areas. As with the Routemaster, the new bus has an open platform so passengers can jump on and off. It will hold 87 people, 62 sitting and 25 standing, half what the bendy buses hold.
More on London's Transport Initiatives
New Double Decker Buses Coming to London
Pedal Power: London's Boris Bike is a Roaring Success
London's Comprehensive Electric Vehicle Plan Takes Shape