London slowly moves to cleaner transport to tackle pollution

As political pressure grows over declining air quality in the world’s big cities, London has become a test bed for policy among global capitals. The FT’s Daniel Garrahan reports asks whether the transition to electric vehicles is being made quickly enough.

Londyn a densely populated global city it’s been a world leader in limiting the number of cars on its roads but there have been illegal levels of air pollution here since 2010 when it comes to nitrogen dioxide which can lead to breathing problems and lower life expectancy london’s air can be almost as dirty as new delhi or beijing many people blame diesel-powered

Cars buses and taxis which often sit in traffic engines running idle the political pressure to go electric is mounting john dowd has driven a black cab in london for almost a decade he switched from an old diesel taxi to this new electric model four months ago the vehicles bigger you know we’re up higher it sort of feels like you’re driving a range rover it has

More more presence on the road it still has the the turning circle that the the the old cabs had the passenger experience isn’t bad either first thing you notice sitting back here is this panoramic roof which even on a typically beautiful london summer’s day such as today offers some pretty impressive views of the london skyline you’ve got your usb points here to

Charge your mobile phone there’s wi-fi and there’s certainly a lot more space back here too with room for six passengers rather than five the only thing that i’d say that this car shares with its diesel-powered predecessor is the suspension which while a lot smoother a ride is still a little on the firm side crucially for john the cost savings of going electric made

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The small extra costs involved in upgrading worthwhile and he wasn’t deterred by concerns over the electric taxis range we’re getting in the in the region of 70 miles out of the battery once you’ve run low on battery power it has a natural range extender which will kick in but a 70 mile range falls well short of the hundred plus miles the most cabbies will get

Through in an average shift taxi drivers who want to go 100% electric while to take time out from their shift to recharge the range extender is efficient but there are emissions from its petrol engine going electric isn’t just for eco-warriors greg cohen drives across london every day in his job as a commercial property developer he still prefers to drive as gas

Guzzling porsche suv at the weekends his electric car perfect fit for work it’s a small car is it spark in westminster you don’t pay for parking after 10 minutes no congestion charge the charges for electricity are tiny gregg says he saves hundreds of pounds a week driving this car around london while some of his friends have been so impressed by it they’ve gone

And bought their own electric car you can understand why some people are still reluctant to take the plunge we’re driving around now we just park and there’s not one charging point here you need planning to put a charging point you have to go to local authority and persuade them and there is a real reluctance to do that if you don’t have a driveway in

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London and you live in a block of flats or you don’t have direct access to the street then it’s very very difficult time and let your car london’s buses are starting to go electric – 68 new zero-emission double deckers will join the fleet next year to make a total of 240 electric buses but that’s a small share of the total fleet which stands at around 9,000 and

Critics say the target for the whole fleet to go electric by 2037 isn’t quick enough at the moment the price of the vehicles is quite a lot higher than their equivalent diesel or hybrid vehicles while electric is coming zero emission is coming we can do more across the world in terms of diesel and we’ve done a lot in london in terms of diesel by moving to the euro

Six ultra-low emission standard as quickly as we could that reduces emissions from vehicles by about 95 percent for knox and around 80 percent for particulate matter as well which makes a big difference compared to the previous generation and whilst diesel has to remain part of the solution in the short term we want to make diesel as clean as we can and we’re now

Retrofitting the rest of the fleet over four thousand vehicles to bring them up to that same standard london was a pioneer for mass transport systems in victorian times it’s now a testbed for policy among global cities mayor sadiq khan is introducing an ultra-low emission zone next year which will slap a daily charge on the most polluting vehicles with poor air


Quality largely derived by transport emission said to be responsible the 9000 premature deaths in the capital each year pressure is building to quicken the transition to electric vehicle

Transcribed from video
London slowly moves to cleaner transport to tackle pollution By Financial Times

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