The Mayor has announced that he plans to introduce 100,000 electric cars to the streets, encouraging their use through a system of subsidies and by building some 25,000 charging stations across the capital.
From The Independent:
"Mr Johnson's proposals to revolutionise motoring in London were set out in a letter to Mr Brown yesterday. The Mayor pressed for charging points to be installed on main roads and in workplaces, retail centres, car parks and railway stations by 2015. He proposes that 20 per cent of all new parking spaces be equipped with such points.
"He promised to convert at least 1,000 London Authority vehicles to electric by 2015 and repeated a guarantee that electric vehicles would be exempt from the central London congestion charge. Mr Johnson called for the £60m cost of his plans to be met jointly by the Greater London Authority, the Government and the private sector."
As The Guardian reports, electric cars are expected to feature heavily in Alistair Darling's upcoming budget.
Any move to low-pollution cars should be welcomed. However, what is not yet clear is how these extra vehicles (teamed with what the Mayor is hoping to be a significant uptick in cycle usage) will effect congestion on the roads. It is to be expected that electric cars will remain exempt from the Congestion Charge, but will that remain the case if 100,000 of them are silently prowling the capital?
The Mayor must be careful that when championing these worthy schemes he does not negate the positive effects that the CC had in lowering congestion and getting London moving again. The capital should be a world-leader in low-cost, low-carbon transport schemes, but not at the expense of being able to get from A to B.
London needs the Mayor and his transport advisor Kulveer Ranger to be serious about a joined-up transport strategy which reduces travel time and promotes low-carbon technology. This scheme, I fear, is only half-way there.