Wednesday, September 21, 2011

London Soon To Have More EV Chargers than Gas Stations

According to a recent story from Inhabitat, London may soon have more EV charging stations than conventional gas stations.

As of fall 2010, London had 250 charging stations for about 2,000 electric vehicles registered in the city.

The new EV charging network, called Source London, announced in May 2011 that 1,300 EV charging stations will be installed in the city by 2013. These new stations will be installed along residential streets as well as near supermarkets, public parking garages, and shopping malls.

The real questions here are 1) does London truly need 1,300 EV charging stations?; and 2) will this new public investment help supplant San Francisco's role as the global leader in EV charging infrastructure?

Source London will pay for the maintenance of the new charging stations by having EV drivers subscribe to an annual membership fee of about $160. There's no such thing as a free lunch, I guess...turns out you still have to pay to fill up your car even if by electric charge.

EV drivers shouldn't complain too much, however. Per Mayor Boris Johnson, they are exempt from the city's congestion charge of between $8 and $15 to enter the city during rush hour.

What is truly groundbreaking about Source London is that with 1,300 charging stations in the city limits, drivers will be far more likely to encounter an electric charge point than a conventional gas station. This could have long-lasting implications on driver behavior, as one of the biggest flaws of electric vehicles - so-called "range anxiety" over where and when to recharge the batteries - will have been eliminated, at least for London residential drivers.

A link to an interactive map of London charging stations is available here.

Whether electric charging stations become viable infrastructure for cab drivers, service vehicles, and delivery trucks - all of which demand a battery range of greater than 100 miles to be practical - remains to be seen.

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