London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s programme to boost electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the capital annouced today recognises the importance of new infrastructure to support the wider take-up of electric cars and vans, in line with National Infrastructure Commission recommendations, but it should form part of wider national initiatives to boost the take-up of electric vehicles and reduce the environmental impact of freight.

The National Infrastructure Assessment called for action to create a national rapid charging network across the whole of the UK to support a target of 100% of new car and vans sales being electric by 2030. In its recent report Better Delivery: the challenge for freight, the Commission also called for a ban on new diesel HGV sales by 2040 as part of a raft of measures to create a zero-carbon freight sector by 2050.

The plans announced by the Mayor of London include five flagship charging hubs with the ability for multiple cars to quickly be charged in one place, a process for Londoners to request new charging infrastructure from their local authority and an online tool to ensure London’s energy grid continues to keep pace with demand and to help unlock private sector investment. At the launch the Mayor also unveiled a new electric van for London from LEVC, based on its design for the current electric London cab.

National Infrastructure Commission Chair Sir John Armitt said:

“A zero-emission van and rapid-charging network will be welcomed by London’s drivers and highlights the importance of electric vehicles to improving air quality in our cities and reducing the impact of the growth in urban freight.

“But more action will needed – such as the ban on new diesel HGV sales by 2040 we recommended in our recent report on freight and reinforcing the electricity network – if we’re to meet the UK’s climate change targets and clean up the air in London and other cities.

“The government should Charge Up Britain by committing to a truly national rapid charging network and give cities new powers over transport so they can follow London’s example.”

The National Infrastructure Commission’s Charge Up Britain campaign is calling for a national rapid charging network as part of a range of measures to encourage drivers to shift from petrol and diesel cars to electric.

Alongside this, the National Infrastructure Assessment made other recommendations to boost the UK’s electric vehicle infrastructure. These include subsidies for chargers in remote and rural areas where the market will not deliver in the short term; requiring local authorities to allocate 20 per cent of their parking spaces by 2025 which may be converted to electric vehicle charge point; and action by Ofgem to regulate the interaction between electric vehicle charge points and the electricity network and develop a set of minimum standards for a network of interoperable smart charge points.