Free Parking for Electric Vehicles

We demand that the City of London reverses its decision to charge drivers of electric vehicles for parking within the City\'s boundaries. There are a number of compelling reasons for us to believe that this is not only a grossly unfair decision, but one that will cause long-term damage to the development and adoption of environmentally friendly vehicles in the future. 1. The City of London has provided no public warning that free parking will no longer be provided to electric vehicles. As I write this at 15.50, 20/6/08, the City of London Parking website still states \'Parking is free for electric vehicles (with free season ticket) in all car parks. A permit also allows free on-street parking.\' True, they have provided some warning to existing season ticket holders that their free parking permits MIGHT be withdrawn, but they have made no public statement to inform those people who have recently bought an electric vehicle on the basis that they would have access to free parking. 2. The public has been misled as to the new Mayor\'s attitude to electric cars. Just over a year ago, Boris Johnson wrote an article in passionate support of electric cars, in particular the G-Wiz, the most popular model of electric car in the UK (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtmlxml=/opinion/2007/05/10/do1001.xml). In this article he sternly criticized what he perceived to be the Labour government\'s hostile attitude to the G-Wiz, a vehicle that he lauded as a \'brilliant invention\'. The City of London\'s sudden (and still not publicly declared) decision to revoke free parking rights for electric cars appears wholly inconsistent with the very public view expressed by London\'s new Mayor. 3. Electric cars, in their present form and for the foreseeable future, require significant incentives in order to make them a viable transport solution. They are slow, relatively unsafe, expensive and also impractical, with short battery lives and cramped dimensions. Free parking in the City of London has acted as a catalyst for a promising level of adoption, but nothing more than that. The market share of electric vehicles in the UK, compared to petrol and diesel fuelled cars, is absolutely minute. Even with free parking, the majority of people regard electric cars as too inconvenient and too expensive to be a realistic transportation solution. By revoking free parking for electric cars, the City of London will destroy the fragile demand for electric cars that currently exists, and in turn destroy the young, start-up companies that have developed and distributed these ultra-niche vehicles. Once again, this appears wholly inconsistent with every view on the environment and pollution communicated by the City of London, the Mayor\'s office and national government. Once the City of London has introduced the proposed charging scheme for electric vehicle parking, there will be little or no incentive for individuals to drive an environmentally friendly electric car rather than a conventional petrol/diesel vehicle. One is uncomfortable, cramped, slow and expensive, while the other is comfortable, pleasant to drive and conforms to NCAP safety regulations. In effect, this will put more conventionally-fuelled cars on our streets. 4. The City of London claims that free parking encourages too many people to drive rather than use public transport. This reasoning is bogus on two counts. A) The number of electric cars is incredibly small and the cars themselves are tiny; they simply do not contribute to congestion in London. B) The public transport infrastructure in London is painfully inadequate for the number of people commuting to and from central locations for work every day of the week. Any environmentally sound solutions that relieve the pressure on the public transport network, pressure that causes it to buckle and collapse on a regular basis, should be welcomed. Instead, these new measures are clearly designed to kill off the nascent popularity of electric cars before they have had a chance to establish any meaningful foothold in the market. We strongly disagree with the City of London\'s attitude on parking rights for electric vehicles and demand that they rescind their decision to end free parking for electric cars immediately.

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