12 September 2019

One of the major challenges cities across the country face is how to tackle the need for public charging stations and still leave enough parking for traditionally fuelled vehicles.

In a document released by the Government, figures indicate that the number of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) has increased by roughly 1,732% between 2010 and 2018. In hard numbers, it’s an increase from 9,500 vehicles at the end of Q1 2010 to 200,000 at the end of Q4 2018.

This increase does show that more businesses and personal drivers are taking the leap to lower or zero-emission vehicles.

However, it does pose the question, can more be done to encourage drivers to adopt these green vehicles? Whilst Government charging grants are available, the perceived cost of investing in a ULEV may outweigh the environmental benefits that these vehicles bring.

Alongside this increase in ULEV registrations, the Government has laid out their Road to Zero strategy, which outlines the steps taken to ensure that ULEVs can be charged without putting too much strain on the national grid.

White car on road charging at a charge point against the sun

One of those steps is the launch of an electric vehicle energy taskforce, which will bring together the energy and automotive industries to plan for the impact of increased demand on energy infrastructure as a result of a rise in the use of electric vehicles.

Some cities are already taking steps to achieve the results that the Government has set out in its plan.

In a press release, the London Assembly said that the Taskforce, which consists of technology companies and industry partners, will support the Mayor in driving forward a number of initiatives in the plan, including:

  • Installing the next generation of ultra-rapid charging points at London petrol stations later this year.
  • Delivering five flagship-charging hubs, with the ability to charge multiple cars in one location. The first of these hubs will be operational in the heart of the Square Mile by the end of the year.
  • A new ‘one-stop-shop’ for Londoners to request new charging infrastructure from their local authority in areas of high demand • Expanding electric car clubs and bringing more vehicles to market, offering greater choice to Londoners and businesses.
  • New online smart tools to ensure London’s energy grid continues to keep pace with demand and to help unlock private sector investment.

When he gave a speech at the launch of the London EV Infrastructure Delivery Plan at the Institution of Engineering and Technology on June 2019, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:

“London’s air is so dirty and polluted that it amounts to nothing less than a serious public health crisis. It breaches legal limits and blights the lives of Londoners, resulting in thousands of premature deaths every year.

We are also facing a climate emergency that threatens the long-term security and wellbeing of every Londoner.

We need to reject the fossil fuels of the past and embrace an electric revolution in London’s transport. To truly transform the quality of our air and to tackle the climate crisis London must move away from petrol and diesel cars, with their catastrophic impact on the environment, and towards zero-emission vehicles.

I want London to lead the world in this ambition, with all new cars and vans on London roads to meeting these standards by 2030, not 2040 as the government is proposing.

Aerial view of an electric car on the road with solar panels in the field

To make this vision a reality we must make sure all Londoners have access to the essential infrastructure required to run and maintain an electric vehicle. This is a massive operation and can only be achieved if the public and private sector come together to deliver London’s electric future.”

Further reading

In summary, businesses operating in and around the capital are sure to see developments in terms of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

One of the main challenges that any infrastructure needs to face is the perceived time it takes for ULEVs to reach their full capacity. Removing the charging anxiety barrier should help encourage more businesses and individuals to switch to zero-emission vehicles, and work towards improved air quality in urban areas.

It remains to be seen whether cities across the country follow this example and make the relevant investments, but it is sure to be an exciting time for the fleet industry as a whole.

To find out more about our fleet management and leasing, employee benefits solutions, and driver services, call a member of our team on 0844 854 5100 or email CSalmon@sgfleet.com.

Electric car charging at charge-point