Hundreds of thousands of rapid charging stations are needed to keep commercial vehicles such as black cabs and private hire taxis vehicles on the roads.
And London aims to lead the way with the electric vehicle revolution after Mayor Sadiq Khan announced 100 new ultra-fast electric vehicle charging points for the capital’s Red Route roads to support high-mileage commercial vehicles like taxis and private hire vehicles.
London’s black cab fleet of almost 15,000 currently has more than 5,000 zero-emission capable taxis and more chargers with shorter charging time will help the city’s electric public hire fleet spend more time picking up fares than plugged into charging points.
The biggest disruption – and cost – to a taxi driver’s day is having to break off from carrying passengers to recharge the EV battery. Not only do they lose 45 minutes to an hour each time, they also have to pay to charge their vehicle. While filling up at a conventional petrol station would only take a few minutes, it is impractical and unreasonable to expect passengers to sit in a cab for nearly an hour while it charges – a considerably longer time than it would take to complete their journey.
The drive to get taxi and other commercial drivers back on the roads quicker means increasing the number of charging points and reducing charging times.
The mayor announced that officials have identified sites on the Transport for London Road Network and the first 25 of these were put out to tender in November. The aim is to release the remaining 75 by April and for all 100 to be operational by the end of this year.
Taxi Point reports that London currently has more than 11,000 public charging points – of which 820 are rapid or ultra-rapid. This represents one charging point for every four registered electric vehicles in London compared with the national average of one for every 12 EVs.
But with the limitations of current EV battery technology, introducing thousands of rapid-charging points is the only way Britain can accelerate its green drive.
The expected requirement for charging points in London alone currently stands at 40,000-60,000 by 2030, of which about 10 per cent – 4,000-6,000 – will be rapid charging points which can deliver a full charge in 20-30 minutes.
This makes them vital for high-mileage users, such as the emergency services, taxis and private hire vehicles, delivery drivers and businesses.
Announcing the fast-charging points and the capital’s commitment to reducing emissions, the mayor said: “I’m in no doubt that the shift to electric vehicles is imperative to cleaning up our air and bringing down harmful emissions. As a city, we’ve travelled an impressive distance in a relatively short period of time in terms of rolling out the necessary infrastructure and encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles. But the gravity of the threats we face from the climate crisis and toxic air pollution demand that we now redouble our efforts and go even further, even faster.
“It’s vital we don’t take our foot off the pedal now and lose momentum. That’s why my administration has published its Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy and set a target of quadrupling – at a minimum – the number of public charge points in London by 2030.
“Freeing up public land to deliver more charging points, and charging hubs, will be crucial to hitting and, hopefully, exceeding this target.
“We must make it easier and more convenient for Londoners to go electric.”
Having fast chargers at convenient locations where drivers need them is the only way the electric taxi fleet can expand, whether it is those with black can insurance or private hire insurance.