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Why we are calling for an electric revolution

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ABOUT THIS PROJECTPlug It In is a new initiative by the Evening Standard to jump-start the electric vehicle conversation among Londoners and help shape a greener global future. Plug It In is supported by commercial partners, which share the project's aims, but our journalism remains editorially independent.
ABOUT THIS PROJECTPlug It In is a new initiative by the Evening Standard to jump-start the electric vehicle conversation among Londoners and help shape a greener global future. Plug It In is supported by commercial partners, which share the project's aims, but our journalism remains editorially independent.
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The Evening Standard has launched an exciting and timely campaign, Plug It In. The goal is no less ambitious than to transform our city and how we get around it.

It has two core aims. First, to help Londoners better understand the electric vehicle (EV) landscape by demystifying the jargon (rapid charging, lithium ion, mpkWh) and debunking misconceptions.

Take range anxiety — the fear of running out of charge. This remains a major psychological barrier for many in purchasing an EV but it need not be. Figures from Transport for London show that a third of car trips in the capital are shorter than 2km (1.2 miles), while another third are between 2km and 5km. This is hardly a surprise — why would you leave London?

The second aim is to drive forward the EV conversation on a policy level. To succeed, the transition to electric must be an all-London affair. Instead of a patchwork solution, we need a city-wide approach. That’s why the Standard will be convening the relevant stakeholders and policymakers to produce a workable policy roadmap. That requires enthusiastic buy-in from central and local government, City Hall, energy companies and car manufacturers. The prize on offer is enormous. Ridding our city of the toxic air that cuts lives short, tackling catastrophic climate change and definitely not spending £2 a litre to fill up our cars.

We want to do more than simply switch from internal combustion engines to electric ones. The overarching goal is to construct a new urban ecosystem, one that links clean energy generation with zero-carbon transport of all types, from double-decker buses to commercial vehicles to build a fully fledged, city-wide electric infrastructure. Think Dylan going electric at the Newport Folk Festival but without the booing.

Evening Standard

Progress has already been made. More than 10,000 EV charging points have been installed in the capital, but Sadiq Khan predicts 40,000 to 60,000 will be required by 2030 — coincidentally, the date on which the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars comes into effect. Critically, we also need a more even spread of charging infrastructure, not just in the posh bits. So this is an enormous undertaking but it’s also exciting. London can demonstrate how cities can lead the world on the path to net zero. And how we can secure a cleaner, breathable, walkable city for all.