UK: Transport for London has selected five suppliers to fund, maintain, operate and install a network of rapid charging points for electric taxis:

  • The Centrica Consortium of Centrica, Evolt and ChargePoint Services
  • BluepointLondon
  • Chargemaster
  • Electricity Supply Board
  • Fastned

Five suppliers have been selected so that a competitive market is created, with the aim of keeping prices low. A maximum rate will be guaranteed for pay-as-you-go users for the first two years. Drivers will be able to pay at the charge point using a credit or debit card, and will have access to call centres for technical support, and will be able to find the location and availability of charging points through websites and apps. TfL intends to make location data available for use by app developers.

The rapid charging points would charge a vehicle in around 30 min, compared with 3 to 4 h when using a standard unit. The first 75 are due to be installed by the end of the year, with the same number to be installed next year and 150 more by 2020, to give a total network of 300 rapid charging points. TfL is also considering ‘strategic hubs’ of several charging points on arterial roads, as well as on private land such as Heathrow Airport and Shell service stations.

TfL is investing £18m in the project, which includes upgrading the power supply in areas where the charging points are to be installed.

‘An extensive rapid charging network is fundamental in helping drivers make the shift from fossil fuels to electric’, said TfL’s Director of Surface Strategy & Planning Ben Plowden. ‘This is particularly important for the taxi and private hire trades and the fleet and freight sector, which over the next few years will be looking to dramatically increase the number of journeys made with zero-exhaust emissions.’

TfL has made it a requirement for new taxis licensed after January 1 2018 to be zero-emissions capable. The authority will shortly introduce a voluntary decommissioning scheme to 2020, under which owners of taxis older than 10 years can claim up to £5 000 for replacing their vehicle.