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Published February 6, 2012 09:29 AM

London falls behind on targets to become electric car capital of Europe

London faces an uphill battle if it is to deliver on the target of 100,000 electric vehicles on the streets of the capital, a new report from the London Assembly warns today.


Charging Ahead?, by the Assembly's Environment Committee, says progress has been made since 2009, when the Mayor committed to making London the electric car capital of Europe, but he faces a formidable challenge ahead to achieve his targets.

With 2,313 electric vehicles currently in London, the Mayor is only two percent of the way towards his goal of 100,000 on the streets as soon as possible. There are around 400 charge points across London compared to his recent target of 1300 by next year and original target of 25,000 by 2015.

There are also fewer than 50 electric vehicles in the Greater London Authority (GLA) fleet compared to the Mayor’s aim of 1000 by 2015.

The Committee warns that the Mayor's current electric vehicles plan will deliver environmental benefits too slowly and calls on him to publish an updated version, clarify his targets and set out timescales for implementing the charging network.

More than £1million was given to boroughs between 2008 and 2010 to install charge points and increase electric vehicle use across London but some boroughs have struggled to secure members for their scheme.

Murad Qureshi AM, Environment Committee Chair said: "Electric vehicles could help improve London's air quality but only if there are enough of them and they are used over a long period of time.

"Currently progress is slow and we are concerned that it could take many years before we see any environmental benefits from the Mayor's ambitious plans.

"If the Mayor wants to encourage more Londoners to drive electric vehicles, he must demonstrate that the charging network is adequate and fits with the way people will actually charge their vehicles. It is unclear at the moment whether it is delivering value for money given the sums already spent on it."

The report notes electric vehicles can offer environmental benefits and have a part to play in trying to clean up London’s environment, but any benefits are likely to be long term and more work is needed to understand the environmental impacts of the technology.

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Image credit: Quentin Willson

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