London Mayor Boris Johnson recently announced that the city will unveil an EV charging network by March 2011. Johnson stated that Source London will feature more than 1,300 charging stations in parking lots and structures by 2013. This citywide charging system may be part of a national EV infrastructure currently under consideration by Transport for London. Source London network takes care of ongoing maintenance and utility costs with a premium membership scheme.
Source London will build on London’s current roster of 250 charging stations using Transport for London funds. The EV charging network will be accessible by plug-in hybrid and EV operators who are Source London members. Mayor Johnson indicated that the membership fee would be a maximum of $161 per year to maintain the network. The Source London scheme would eliminate the cumbersome registration process for EVs and plug-in hybrids that forces users to register with neighborhood governments before they charge.
This citywide network has emerged due to the labors of Transport for London as well as corporate partner Siemens. Transport for London has solicited local, regional and national funds to handle the startup costs of such an ambitious program. Source London could be the starting point for a national network as Transport for London is working with neighboring cities to ensure EV charger adoption. Siemens will be the primary supplier of chargers, billing systems and administrative support for Source London.
Mayor Johnson sweetened the pot for plug-in hybrid and EV adopters with a congestion tax discount. Transport for London will eliminate the annual congestion tax for motorists who participate in the Source London network. This discount could save network members up to $3,225 per year that could be used to cover part of the price premiums on electric vehicles. As Source London expands, the membership fees may be adjusted slightly to maintain a network used by additional drivers.
Johnson’s announcement came four days after his office announced a cut in a planned EV purchase by the city. This EV purchase would have added 100,000 EVs and 25,000 charging stations throughout London in the next decade. Johnson noted in his November 3rd announcement that the city would only cover about an eighth of the anticipated costs of a reduced EV purchase. The combination of current EV ownership and Source London’s ambitious infrastructure could help Johnson attract private sponsorship that moves the city closer to emission-free transportation.