LONDON, May 28 (Xinhua) — London is a city with 2.5 million car owners, with half of the population living in non-car owning households.
The number of owners of electric cars in the British capital has increased 10-fold in the past six years, yet it is still only 12,000 vehicles.
The elected London Assembly has been looking at how the capital can best prepare itself for a revolution in motoring, and it has identified a major hiccup.
Over 60-percent of homes in London do not have driveways or off-street parking where electric cars could easily be hooked to a charging point.
Owners of cars living in those tens of thousands of homes would need to rely on electric on-street charging points, says a new report by the London Assembly Environment Committee.
The report says: “The growth in the number of electric vehicles in the capital is outstripping the number of charge points and this could limit the number of people owning an electric vehicle, at a time when it is essential that Londoners move away from internal combustion engine vehicles.”
The environment committee has now called for a pan-London approach to electric charging points, spearheaded by London mayor Sadiq Khan.
Their report found that encouraging Londoners without their own driveway or garage to get an electric vehicle is the biggest challenge for take-up, as concerns about charging points are deep-rooted.
They also said that the spread, location and accessibility of electric charging points is more important than the number of charging points, so a strategic pan-London approach is needed.
The committee also added that car clubs, were people share vehicles, are a golden opportunity to both reduce individual ownership and get more electric cars on the road, instead of petrol and diesel combustion engine vehicles.
To help drive the switch to electric cars the committee wants Mayor Khan in the short-term for a limited period only to make parking for electric vehicles free or discounted.
They also want Khan to use his profile to spread the idea that charging need not be a barrier to owning an electric vehicle.
Assembly member Leonie Cooper said: “The time is ripe for London to take charge, if we want to future proof this city for an electric car revolution. The Mayor has a key role to play in spearheading the shift to electric vehicles, preferably not individually owned but shared via car clubs.
“An electric vehicle is a great option for Londoners in the minority of cases when a journey can’t be done by public transport, walking or cycling. These cars are cleaner, quieter and much better for the environment. What puts people off though, is not knowing whether they will be able to find a charger.
“We need to get the number and location of charging points right, as well as raise awareness of charging points in the capital. This infrastructure is essential if London is to continue the electric vehicles revolution.”
A recent report by London Assembly member Shaun Bailey and published by Greater London Authority Conservatives says the installation of electric charging points is occurring at an “unsatisfactorily slow” rate compared with the uptake of electric vehicles.
The report warned London’s roads could experience a “charge rage epidemic” if the predicted demand for electric car charging points is not met.