London

Electric car plan for London 'half-hearted'

An electric car at a charging point in London
Image caption Mayor Boris Johnson wanted to install 7,500 charging points across London by 2013

The mayor of London has been accused of having a half-hearted commitment to electric vehicles in the city.

The mayor has announced plans to install 1,300 charging points by the end of 2013, despite announcing last February plans for 7,500 points.

Senior Green Party assembly member Darren Johnson said there was no mention of the aim to install 25,000 charging points by 2015.

The mayor's office said there has been revisions following budget changes.

But a spokesman said there is still progress with the launch of Source London, the network of charging points.

"Despite massive pressures on transport budgets, we are pleased that we have preserved an unprecedented financial commitment to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles in London as more cars come to market," said the spokesman.

He said electric vehicle drivers would benefit from the installation of hundreds more charge points across London this year on top of its existing numbers, along with the first-ever city-wide electric vehicle membership scheme, Source London.

Mr Johnson, chairman of the assembly environment committee, said the mayor never explained how he would fund plans for 25,000 charging points which he set out in his electric vehicle action plan.

He said there appeared to be a solid commitment to some short-term funding made a year ago, but most of that money had now disappeared.

Environmental gains

He described the mayor's commitment as "half hearted".

"He failed to secure the Nissan/Leaf sponsorship deal for the Olympics which media reports claim would have seen an all electric fleet.

"He has also failed to guarantee that these charging points will run on renewable energy, so the environmental gains are far less than they should be," he said.

Paul Watters, of the Automobile Association, said it was still better to have a programme than none at all.

"To set up an infrastructure for even 1,300 points is a big commitment. The fact there are fewer electric charging points than promised will still ease the pressure on the current ones," he said.

"This will be evolution not revolution. Let's start on a figure that we can build on, especially if the economic situation changes."

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