The first of a borough-wide network of electric vehicle chargers fitted to lamposts have now been switched on and are being used by Wandsworth residents.
This week 15 lamposts are having EV charging plugs fitted to them where residents have electric cars and who first requested them.
Another 230 are programmed to be installed across the borough later this year to support residents who already own, or are in the process of purchasing, an electric vehicle.
The installations are the first phase of a far-reaching council initiative to install charging equipment borough-wide as part of a £3m programme aimed at encouraging greater take-up of this eco-friendly form of motoring.
As well as the 230 “on demand” lamposts the council is also:
• Installing a further 380 charging plugs in lamposts within two pilot zones – in Putney (149) and Battersea (231) – to gauge local demand and encourage more people to go electric. The results from these trial schemes could see this key infrastructure extended to other areas.
• Providing another 120 Source London car charging points at various locations across the borough, adding to the 99 already in use at 33 separate places in Wandsworth.
• The establishment of a new e-car club in Wandsworth – offering a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to car ownership, providing electric vehicles to hire by the hour, day or week.
The number of electric vehicles registered in Wandsworth has grown from 127 at the end of 2015 to 408 today – with numbers rising by around ten per cent every three months.
Current projections indicate that some 5,500 electric vehicles will be registered in the borough by 2025 – but with enhanced infrastructure and more charging points that number could rise to nearer 10,000. Existing analysis indicates that Wandsworth already had one of the highest take up rates in London for electric vehicles.
One resident benefiting from this week’s installation is Matthew Paterson, a computer software developer from Mandrake Road in Tooting who became the first resident in Wandsworth to have lampost EV sockets in his street switched on.
Matthew owns a plugin-hybrid and makes relatively short journeys powered solely by its electric motor. He can now use any of three new lamp post charging points near his home.
He said: "This is a game-changer. Until now, in order to drive fully-electric I have had to travel half a mile to the nearest charging point, walk back home and then return again a few hours later to pick it up on a regular basis. It gave me plenty of exercise but was a drain on my time.
“Having local charging points virtually on our doorsteps makes owning an EV practical for everyone who lacks off-street parking; I'm sure that this new infrastructure will encourage others nearby to follow suit and 'go electric'."
Introducing lampost charging points has no impact on parking provision in the borough. There are no restrictions on the types of vehicle allowed to use adjacent parking spaces, so they can be used by both electric and non-electric vehicles.
Transport and environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “This is a landmark moment and demonstrates our commitment to providing the types of infrastructure that will soon be required to keep people on the move.
“Here in Wandsworth we are planning to be well ahead of the game.
“It’s now undeniable that the future of motoring is electric. All the major car manufacturers have signalled they’ll soon be phasing out diesel and petrol engines while the Government has also announced that sales of new petrol and diesel cars is to be outlawed within a generation.
“By creating such an extensive network of charging points our aim is to remove one of the biggest hurdles facing people when they begin to think about the feasibility of changing from petrol and diesel to electric.
“This is an ambitious programme of change which has the potential to achieve a real improvement in air quality. We’ve already done a lot to tackle pollution in Wandsworth and these projects will help us do even more.”
The lampost charging sockets are being installed by leading tech firm ubitricity. Its founder Knut Hechtfischer said: “We’re delighted to be working with Wandsworth to help its residents charge conveniently right outside their homes.
“Up to 85 per cent of residents in some areas of London do not have access to off-street parking, this was previously seen as a real barrier to EV uptake. We hope lampost charging can play its part in promoting EV ownership.”