Boris Johnson’s ambition to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe has been shunned by motorists, according to a report in the Evening Standard.
The Standard says that three-quarters of the Capital’s estimated 800 charging points were not used at all last year, despite the service being offered for free.
The Mayor has set up Europe’s largest urban network of charging points in a £9.3 million project with the Department for Transport (DfT).
Mr Johnson’s ‘Source London’ scheme recently expanded to 1,300 points in car parks at supermarkets, hospitals and rail stations, as well as on residential streets. Energy is supplied by EDF and motorists can charge cars for free after paying a £10 annual membership.
The Standard report says that figures obtained by the London Assembly Liberal Democrats showed that in the last four months of 2012, only 198 of 800 points were used.
For many points the average use was just one to four minutes a day, suggesting they were only used once or twice over this period. As charging a vehicle fully can take a number of hours, figures suggest only a few dozen are even charging a single car per day on average.
Stephen Knight, the Assembly Lib-Dems’ environment spokesman, said: “Source London is clearly failing to have much impact. A growing network of charging points primarily for private electric cars may have long-term merit but the Mayor’s first priority must be to switch London’s 20,000 diesel taxis and 8,500 buses to electric power.”
John Mason, Source London director, said: “We’re putting the infrastructure in now so motorists know there’s somewhere convenient to recharge their car and ensure there is capacity as electric vehicle use becomes more common.
“Tightening the congestion charge discount so only the cleanest vehicles qualify and the ultra-low emission zone introduction are set to encourage further electric car take-up in London.”
Click here to read the full Evening Standard report.