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As Europe pledges to meet its climate targets by 2050, London is at a key juncture. On the one hand, it is a congested city that faces environmental and health risks because of vehicle pollution. On the other hand, it can lay claim to being a city with more than 20,000 electric vehicles, 1,700 electric taxis and Europe’s largest electric bus fleet.
In order to continue the momentum of transforming London into a green city, we at Gnewt by Menzies Distribution have been doing our bit and leading the charge of green parcel delivery in the city for nearly 10 years. We have been working with Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and City Hall to tackle what is a major block to the Capital’s green revolution – poor EV infrastructure.
Sadiq Khan, along with City Hall, has been addressing the issue of urban congestion and pollution through the formation of the world’s first Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Taskforce. The EV Taskforce brings together stakeholders, such as Gnewt, from across the city – with a shared aim of encouraging electric vehicle use in the Capital, and tackling our air pollution, health and climate crisis. The lack of EV infrastructure is a significant obstacle to creating a cleaner city, and the EV Taskforce aims to make it easier for Londoners to switch from diesel to electric cars and consequently reduce toxic traffic emissions.
On 17th June, Gnewt by Menzies Distribution, represented by founder and Head of Business Development, Sam Clarke, attended an EV Taskforce event, where the Mayor set out London’s plan for the future of electric vehicles. The plan seeks to implement a network of rapid charging hubs across the city, with the first EV charging hub, set to be operational by the end of 2019. In order to maximise the benefits of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, strategically placed charging hubs are crucial as drivers need to be able to charge a car as seamlessly as they could re-fill a tank. Included in the plan is the intention to open the first hub in the heart of the Square Mile by the end of 2019.
The next step of this process should look towards the needs of commercial vehicles, as freight and deliveries are central to supporting London’s economy, with half of the capital’s household expenditure relying on it. In order to support commercial vehicles in the green transition, the Government and industry should work together to create larger out of town charging stations that use rapid charging technology and have multiple charging points that can be used for electric cars and commercial vehicles. As electric vehicles now get ranges of over 300 miles, commercial vehicles can charge up outside of town – freeing up space on street charging points and city centre hubs – and make deliveries and return to base on one full charge.
If the UK and Europe are planning to take climate targets seriously, more needs to be done to encourage individuals and corporates to adopt full-electric vehicles, particularly those road-based companies such as couriers and parcel delivery firms. The lack of a commercially viable electric charging infrastructure is holding back this progress. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with Sadiq and the EV Taskforce to position London as a leader in low carbon emissions.