London borough joins forces with Uber to bring more public electric chargers

The collaboration in partnership with Zest will see the installation of 160 new public chargers in Brent

Although the ban on sale of petrol and diesel cars was pushed back by five years in the UK, local authorities are still working hard to make the transition to electric cars easier for motorists, and one crucial part of the process is the availability of accessible and convenient public chargers.

And the Borough of Brent is the latest to have taken the step, partnering with Leeds-based EV charging provider Zest, and another big-name Uber, unveiling an ambitious plan that will double the number of on-street charging bays in the west London borough.

According to the Labour-dominated council’s plans, the initiative will install 160 new charging points across 80 locations, with the first operational unit already open.

> Britain’s EV charging infrastructure needs a rethink

With almost half of the drivers in the UK lacking a driveway and thus finding it difficult to install a wall-mounted private charger at home, the council is hoping to address this problem and make electric charging more accessible in Brenford.

The biggest talking point about the proposal is that it is being jointly funded by both Zest and Uber, with the former taking responsibility for the long-term operation and maintenance of the charging infrastructure.

Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member, for Environment, Infrastructure, and Climate Action, at Brent Council, said: “In order to reach our target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, we have to make it as easy as possible for residents to pick transport that is good for the environment – this does just that.

“We are currently fourth in London by the number of charging points and after this project, we will have almost 1,000 electric charging points across Brent.”

> Apple Maps to show real-time charging availability for EV drivers

Andrew Brem, General Manager of Uber UK, said: “Getting the first chargers in the ground is a huge milestone with drivers often telling me that being able to access reliable charging near their homes is critical to their decision to switch to an EV.”

In May this year, the borough of Barnet had also launched an audacious project that would install almost 1,300 EV charging points, taking its total to 2,000 by the end of next year, after the council secured a £5.19 million government grant. The initiative would also mean that Barnet would host one in every six of London’s public charging points.

In April, Surrey County Council announced the largest on-street EV charging point scheme in the UK, aimed at delivering 10,000 public chargers at over 1,500 locations across streets and public car parks by 2030 after a £60 million investment from a private charging contractor.

Zest, meanwhile, is an EV charge point infrastructure provider for public and commercial landowners, and is fully backed by the government’s Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund (CIIF) for long-term stability.

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