Westminster City Council in London has introduced two free street recharging points for electric cars—the first on-street points in the UK. Westminster already provides 48 free recharging stations, but these are located in 13 of the city’s parking garages.
The two new bays are in the Covent Garden area, in Wellington Street and Southampton Street. The on-street bays are a pilot for a potential larger rollout, depending upon the use of the bays, according to the Council.
Prospective users of the on-street bays need to apply for an “EcoMark” badge, available to anyone who lives and works within Westminster. The council requires a £50 (US$98) deposit for an individually programmed electronic key and the cable which connects the car to the recharging point. The deposit is refunded when key and cable are returned.
To use the charging points in the parking garages, drivers must join the Masterpark Green Card scheme. This is an annual £200 (US$392) flat fee and covers unlimited parking and charging costs at a nominated car park.
Drivers of electric vehicles do not have to pay the congestion charge and are also exempt from road tax.
Our location in central London unfortunately means we have very poor air quality. But we are not sitting back and refusing to take responsibility but instead are putting forward positive measures to encourage people to use greener forms of transport.
Driving electric cars is one way people can make difference to cutting down harmful emission and we have made it possible, through this roll out of charging points, to use them as a convenient way of getting around the capital.—Councillor Alan Bradley, Cabinet Member for Street Environment
According to the Council, Westminster has some of the worst air quality in the United Kingdom which is almost entirely due to the volume of daily traffic passing through the borough.
Currently, the most popular brand of electric car in the area is the Reva G-wiz, which has a top speed of 40 mph and a range of 40 miles on a full charge. More than 750 have been sold in London.