As regular readers will know, I’m not backward in coming forward about the problems caused by noisy supercars. You know the ones: the exotic-looking speed machines which swish and roar around Knightsbridge. Particularly in the summer.
Here at the Council we’re continuing to crack down on inconsiderate drivers and encourage residents to report any issues to us. But, problems aside, I think it’s only fair to say that some of these bling’d-out cars are simply stunning. Beautiful, even. The other day, however, I must admit my head was turned, not by a Lamborghini but by another stylish road machine: the electric Renault Twizy.
Coming a long way from the Sinclair C5s of the 80s, today’s electric vehicles are better looking, more practical and, more importantly, come with top-notch environmental credentials. And here’s the science bit: driving an electric vehicle means reduced air pollution due to no NOx or particulates, plus no CO2 emissions.
Right now, depending on your budget, there’s a variety of brands and models to choose from. There’s everything from Tesla’s Model S, Nissan’s Leaf, Volkswagen’s e-up!, Renault’s Twizy and many more. And although upfront costs differ, all TfL-registered electric vehicles have one wallet-improving commonality: they’re exempt from some charges. These include Vehicle Excise Duty and the Congestion Charge. Plus, they have the cheapest Kensington and Chelsea parking permits around.
So, in being kind to the environment and being substantially cheaper to run and park, compared with fuel-powered cars, it makes switching to electric a serious option.
Here in Kensington and Chelsea we have a problem with poor air quality, so more people driving vehicles producing no emissions would really improve things. To help encourage more residents and visitors to embrace this electric dream, we are installing 13 new charging points. This will bring the borough’s total to 15. The two already in use are in Seville Street and Talbot Road. And we hope to have the rest up and running shortly.
The charging points are easy and cheap to use: just park up, plug in and return to your car ready to roll. You will need to register with Source London first at www.sourcelondon.net
And for a map of where they’ll be, along with further information, see www.rbkc.gov.uk/electric-vehicles
I hear you saying, though, that a handful of charging points is no big deal. And you’d be right, but it’s a start.
However, if you add in the people with off-street parking who are already charging their vehicles; the other off-street points in places like supermarkets; the fact that manufacturers may make progress with the development of mainstream cars where motorists can swap depleted batteries for charged ones; and when you see it as part of our larger plan to protect the environment (www.rbkc.gov.uk/greenerborough) I hope you think the Council could be starting to make a difference.