Saturday, 30 July 2011

Fuelling London...

Richard Morris's excellent blog has drawn me towards an article written by Mike Tuffrey over on the Lib Dem Voice.  The gist of the piece is that the next Mayor of London (for which Mr Tuffrey is hoping to be the Lib Dem candidate) should concentrate on important issues - such as making all of London's buses and taxis electric by 2020.

I have to say I completely agree with this suggestion.  
  • Is this likely to be the optimal solution for public transport?  No - I have never been convinced that electric vehicles will be the most efficient.
  • Are there currently any better suggestions that are even potentially affordable?  No - hydrogen could be a possibility but in my mind there is no way that this would ever become cash positive. 
  • Is this better than the current situation? Yes, as Mr Tuffrey points out: 

"With electric vehicles emitting no tail pipe exhaust pollution, turning London’s buses, taxis and commercial LGV fleets electric will reduce the air pollution suffered by Londoners by an estimated 25% – and even more in central London, with a 65% cut in dangerous nitrogen dioxide emissions in Oxford Street.
Wider benefits include a reduction in CO2 emissions of over 300,000 tonnes, far quieter streets and cheaper running costs, helping make public transport more affordable."

I have said before when talking about my lack of worry with regards climate change that people wont go rushing out to buy environmentally friendly vehicles unless the infrastructure is in place.  I know if I were to obtain an electric car it would be very difficult for me to charge (I don't drive but if I did my street wouldn't be the easiest to park in).  The technology needs to be there so it is not a hindrance for people, it needs to be as easy for people as petrol cars.  That is why commercial vehicles would be an excellent starting point.  Bus depots could easily be set up to efficiently charge their fleet, as could taxi firms.  

We need more of these sort of ideas if we are to make any progress in this election.  I've never felt like London Mayor is an election the Liberal Democrats can win.  People get drawn to the personalities of Boris and Ken as well as the Tories/Labours inherent advantage, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try, and if someone else hears good ideas like this and runs with them surely that is also a positive!

I don't know everything about the Lib Dem possibilities, I've said before that people should lay off the Lembit bashing but I don't think his campaign has been particularly good, the more I hear though the more I'm leaning to Mike Tuffrey.


  1. Infrastructure is the big issue here, which is why there's a bit of a technology battle going on between hydrogen, electric or hybrid based on conventional fuels. After some careful thought, I'm convinced we should invest in electric for the commercial end - buses, taxis, LGVs - as they are high mileage (60 to 100 miles a day, with big savings in running costs) and easier to organise. By contrast a typical ordinary motorists does just 4 miles a day, yet needs a huge infrastructure.
    And Chris Huhne is keen to find a use for the electricity generated by wind turbines at night!
    Mike Tuffrey AM

  2. Thanks for your comment Mike.

    I've always preferred the thought of hydrogen cars but it does seem prohibitively expensive and the infrastructure required would be enormous. As such your proposals do sound like the best choice.

    Good luck with your campaign.