Cleaner air and zero emission capable vehicles

We need to take action urgently to clean up London's air and rid the Capital of the most polluting vehicles. The Mayor has an ambition to make London's transport network zero carbon by 2050 - this will bring improvements in air quality (see the Mayor's Transport Strategy).

To achieve this we need to transform London's streets and transport infrastructure to support and accelerate the shift to zero emission technologies.

Zero emission capable (ZEC) is the collective term for vehicles that can operate with zero exhaust emissions. Most car and van manufacturers have ZEC models available, with more due to come to market in the next few years. Find out more about ZEC vehicles, and get help to choose the right vehicle for you, at Go Ultra Low.

Vehicle types

There are three types of ZEC vehicles:

  • 100% pure electric vehicles are powered by a battery which drives the electric motor. They have no exhaust emissions. Battery electric vehicles typically have a range of around 80 miles but some can achieve up to 300 miles
  • Plug-in hybrid and range-extended electric vehicles also have a conventional diesel or petrol engine, meaning they have a longer range than with a battery alone
  • Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles have a fuel cell which uses hydrogen to produce electricity which powers the wheels of the vehicle. They typically have a range of around 300 miles

Benefits

By switching to a zero emission capable vehicle you can save money on fuel costs, reduce harmful vehicle emissions and help clean up London's air.

There are also financial benefits:

How to charge your vehicle

Most people charge at home overnight or at their workplace, but some will need to charge while they are on the move. Grants are available for electric vehicle charging infrastructure at home and at workplaces.

Public charge points can be found on-street and in key destinations such as shopping locations. You will usually need your own charging cable to use public charge points, although rapid charge points have the cable built in.

Different manufacturers use different connector types. Check with your vehicle manufacturer what type of connector your vehicle uses and whether it is capable of rapid charging.

Charge point maps show where your nearest public charge point is, the connector types, charging speeds, which network the charge point is operated by and how much it will cost to charge. Frequent users can join network membership schemes. Most networks also offer pay as you go charging.

We have produced guidance and research that addresses the needs of zero emission capable vehicles. This will help us, the London boroughs and charge point providers deliver charging infrastructure in the right locations now and in the future. Find out about ULEV research

Rapid charge points for London

Rapid charge points can charge an electric vehicle battery in 20-30 minutes. This is quicker than regular charge points that can take 7-8 hours for a full charge.

At most of these charge points you can pay as you go with a credit or debit card - you don't need to be a member. High mileage users, such as electric taxi and private hire drivers and freight and fleet operators, can quickly charge their vehicles.

We have committed to installing 150 rapid charging points by the end of 2018 and at least 300 by 2020.

Rapid charging bays (e-bays) are designed to be used by electric vehicle users only while charging. Any other vehicle parked in the bay may be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.

We're investing £18 million and working with the boroughs and other organisations to provide the rapid charging points the Capital needs to make it easier to use electric vehicles. Sites will be on arterial roads, owned and maintained by TfL, borough roads, car parks and on private land, including Heathrow Airport and multiple Shell service stations.

Most networks also offer pay as you go charging (charge point costs will depend on the operator). 

Other rapid charge points

Non-TfL funded rapid charge points are also available in London. These have been collated in the following document:

Taxi-only rapid charge points

The Mayor wants to establish London's taxi fleet as the greenest in the world and to phase out diesel. New taxis need to be zero-emission capable to be licensed. Tighter requirements have also been introduced for private hire vehicles (minicabs). Find out more about our how we're creating greener taxis and greener PHVs.

Rapid charge points will promote the greening of London's iconic black cab fleet, with many charging points dedicated exclusively to their use by the end of 2018. E-taxi bays in a variety of locations are being restricted to London licensed e-taxis only. Drivers of other electric vehicles who park in an e-taxi bay risk getting a Penalty Charge Notice. Find alternative charging locations on the Zap Map website.

Rapid charging networks

Five networks will be responsible for installing, operating and maintaining rapid charge points on public land across London. These networks are ESB EV Solutions, Fastned, GeniePoint, POLAR and Source London.

Drivers will be able to pay to use rapid charge points without having to register or being a member of a scheme. Visit the network websites for more information on charging costs.

Customer support

Customers will be supported by the network operators via 24-hour, seven-days-a-week call centres and have the latest information at their fingertips, such as the location and availability of rapid charge points, both on the web and through apps. The location data will be made available, tapping into the creativity of the app-developing community.

Go Ultra Low City Scheme

The Go Ultra Low City Scheme (GULCS) is a joint TfL and borough programme that aims to deliver over 1,000 on-street electric charge points for London's residents and car club vehicles by the end of 2020. The residential charging network will help Londoners without access to off-street parking make the switch to zero emission capable vehicles. Car club charging points will help car club operators transition their fleets. Please contact your local borough's transport officer to register your interest in a charge point.

The GULCS project is also funding at least six 'Neighbourhood of the Future' (NoF) projects, acting as a testbed for innovative EV charging technologies, initiatives and policies to support the growth of clean vehicles in London.

Commercial vehicles

Zero emission capable vehicles can help businesses and commercial drivers reduce costs, emissions and the level of servicing and maintenance required.

LoCITY is an industry-led programme that provides information to help the freight and fleet sector reduce emissions and switch to ZEC vehicles.