Transport for London (TfL) has appointed the suppliers who will provide the rapid charging points that the capital needs to make it easier than ever before to use electric vehicles. A competitive bidding process resulted in Ireland’s Electricity Supply Board (ESB), being among the successful bidders along with the Centrica Consortium, BluepointLondon, Chargemaster, and Fastned. They will fund, maintain, operate and install the network.
The operators will move quickly to install the charge points, with the first being operational within a matter of months. They will power vehicles in close to 30 minutes, compared with the three to four hours when using a standard unit. The initial aim is to see 75 charging points in the ground by the end of this year, with the network growing to 150 by the end of 2018 and 300 fully functioning by 2020.
TfL is working with the London boroughs and investing £18 million to unlock potential sites, including upgrading the power supply. Strategic hubs are also being evaluated on arterial roads, owned and maintained by TfL, and on private land, including Heathrow Airport and multiple Shell service stations. These are off-road locations that have potential to house a number of rapid charge points.
New taxis licensed after January 1st, 2018 will need to be zero-emission capable, to help clean up London’s dirty air. This charging network will be vital in assisting the greening of London’s iconic black cab fleet, with many charging points dedicated exclusively to their use by the end of next year.
The creation of a competitive market is aimed at keeping prices low and a maximum rate will be guaranteed for pay-as-you-go users for the first two years. The contract is set up to create the best possible experience for customers. Drivers will be able to pay at the charge point using a credit or debit card and it will not be compulsory to sign up to a membership or subscription scheme. The integrated network means drivers can use all five suppliers at no additional cost, making it easier to do business when using a zero-emission vehicle.
Customers will be supported by 24-hour, seven-day-a-week call centres and have the latest information at their fingertips, such as the location and availability of charging points, both on the web and through apps. The location data will be made available, tapping into the creativity of the app-developing community.
Electricity Supply Board (ESB)
The ESB is Ireland’s foremost energy company and the country’s largest supplier of renewable electricity. In the UK, where it has invested £2bn in the past six years, ESB is a leading independent power generator and electricity networks owner, with a diverse portfolio of almost 1.9 GW of both thermal and renewable assets.
As an energy innovator, ESB is at the forefront of delivering the full end-to-end value chain and all aspects of management of electric vehicle charging networks, currently owning and operating interoperable networks consisting of 1,200 public fast and rapid (22 kW and 50 kW) charge points across both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.