BY YANN TEAR
Hammersmith and Fulham is leading the way in providing battery charging points for electric cars in London – and is well on the way to setting up its 200th bay.
The west London authority is determined to be at the forefront of the battle for cleaner air in the capital and, along with Wandsworth and Islington, has been identified as the champion provider of charging points for electrical vehicles.
The borough currently has charging points at 45 separate locations scattered around the borough, and with two to four bays at each spot, that amounts to 135 outlets.
That compares to 74 in Westminster and 43 in Kensington and Chelsea. Hammersmith and Fulham recently installed the 1,000th bay set up in the capital by the leading provider, Source London, which effectively manages 25 of the 32 boroughs.
The firm’s landmark was marked by a photo shoot at Crondace Road, with leader of the council Cllr Stephen Cowan posing with executives from Source London and its parent company Bolloré.
“Over the last five years, we’ve worked hard to deliver the largest electric vehicle charging network in London,” Cllr Cowan said. “By the end of this year, we’ll have more than 250 charging points across the borough.
We’re making it easier than ever for our residents to go electric and help cut air pollution.”
The council says its policy of freeing up space for electrical charging points is part of an avowed determination to become ‘the greenest borough in the country’ by driving down air pollution and increasing recycling rates. “We want to entice wildlife to our streets, parks and gardens,” says the council in its green mission statement.
“We will ensure that future developments in the borough are more environmentally-focused than ever before, encouraging spaces for nature and improving the quality of life for everyone in Hammersmith and Fulham.”
All that is music to the ears of Source London managing director Christophe Arnaud, who wants all boroughs to get up to 200 charging points in the near future.
“Hammersmith and Fulham is one of the three taking the lead in showing a commitment to install new charging points,” he told the London Weekly News. “It is not easy to find the space for these points because you have to take out existing parking bays. But they are helping to create a great network by rolling out new bays all the time.”
Source London does not anticipate a slow down in the rate at which electrical vehicles are bought, even though overall sales in the country are sluggish after the government significantly reduced grants for green vehicles.
Typically, electric cars cost £10,000 more than petrol or diesel equivalents and the take-up is currently much higher elsewhere in Europe.
“This is not a concern and is an issue for people outside cities because within London, demand remains very high,” Mr Arnaud said. “In London there is going to be less concern about finding charging bays and you also now have the Ultra Low Emission Zone, making it potentially more costly to drive in the city in future.”
Source London’s charging points were the first to be installed ‘on-street’ in Hammersmith and Fulham in 2016. The demand for electric vehicles continues to grow and, by March 2019, Source London’s charging points in the borough were used for 5,500 hours – compared with just 3,250 a year ago.
Combined with the Source London network and other rapid and fast-charge points, there is now a charging point within 400m of every home or business in the borough.
The council was also the first in London to launch the Bluecity electric car club. Bluecity runs along the same principle as the Santander cycles, where you can pick up a car from any local charging point.
Bluecity cars create no exhaust emissions, ensuring no damage to local air quality or contribution to climate change.
Club members can reserve a vehicle 30 minutes in advance and can leave it in one of the many compatible charging bays in any of the 16 London boroughs who are signed up to Source London.
Locations of charging bays can be found via an app.