Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill

Written evidence submitted by the Mayor of London & Transport for London (AEVB 22)

1.            Introduction

1.1. The Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL), as the Mayor’s integrated local transport authority, welcome the opportunity to submit written evidence to the public bill committee on the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill.

1.2. TfL’s purpose is to keep London moving, working and growing to make life in London better. We deliver the Mayor’s transport strategy to deliver a modern, affordable and sustainable transport network promoting public transport, walking and cycling. We reinvest all of our income to run and improve London’s transport services.

1.3. The Mayor’s draft Transport Strategy, sets outs our vision for the Capital’s transport network. The ambitious Transport Strategy seeks to enable a shift to more walking, cycling and public transport use. The final Mayor's Transport Strategy will be published in early 2018.

1.4. Generating a modal shift from car use to walking, cycling and public transport use is the only way to maintain and improve our streets. These more efficient modes make better use of our London’s limited street space, especially as the city’s population continues to grow. The shift away from car will also help Londoners to be more physically active, reduce road danger and improve air quality, while allowing more space to be devoted to creating places for people to enjoy, which is why it has been placed at the heart of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy.

1.5. Although new vehicle technologies like AVs have the potential to deliver reductions in road danger and electric vehicles have the potential to improve air quality, private vehicle use will still pose problems for the operation of public space and the health of Londoners. The Mayor and TfL will therefore approach new technologies within this context, ensuring that their use benefits Londoners and the city overall.

1.6. A move towards new technologies like electric vehicles is likely to reduce taxation income for the government which could impact on the funding available for highway improvements. In London, the Government’s removal of all revenue grant has seen £2.8bn lost from TfL’s finances. New technologies must be considered alongside a new approach to funding roads, and the Government should give consideration to the potential of road user charging systems as a means both of funding road use and of managing demand for limited road space.

2.            The Vision for Autonomous Vehicles

2.1      Technological innovations such as the emergence of autonomous vehicles (AVs) could have a significant impact on transport in London, and it will be important to ensure that business models for deployment of AVs do not detract from the stated objectives of promoting walking, cycling and public transport, and work alongside these to enhance mobility in the Capital.

2.2      This is particularly important as the emergence of AVs could disrupt the traditional patterns of private car ownership and use. Although it will be important to be mindful of the risks associated with continued car dependency, there is the possibility that innovative autonomous options can be developed or even shaped to promote shared use instead of low-occupancy or individual trips, with vehicles that are ultra-low or zero-emission. This could in turn help deliver transport and wider objectives, including tackling poor air quality and congestion.

3.            The Vision for Charging Infrastructure in London

3.1.      To help meet the Mayor’s ambitious target to make London a zero carbon city by 2050, London needs a coherent network of charging infrastructure to meet the needs of all types of EV users, from residents to commercial fleets.

3.2.      TfL supports the proposals for new legislative powers which would allow Government to introduce regulations to address shortcomings currently affecting electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, as outlined in TfL’s official response to the consultation on ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) measures within the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill (formerly the Modern Transport Bill at the time of consultation).

3.3.       TfL’s strategy for encouraging the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) is set out in the draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy. The draft Strategy states that air quality and climate change must be considered together, with a clear direction towards ULEVs needed to avert the adverse impacts of a rush back to petrol. ULEVs include battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, range-extended electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

3.4.      The Mayor’s aims for all taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) to be zero emission capable by 2033, for all buses to be zero emission by 2037, for all new road vehicles driven in London to be zero emission by 2040, and for London’s entire transport system to be zero emission and zero carbon by 2050. For heavier vehicles, alternative fuels that demonstrate clear reductions in air pollutant and CO2 emissions will need to be considered as a bridging technology on the path to zero emission by 2050.

3.5.       TfL seeks to deliver the electric charging infrastructure, in partnership with the private sector, necessary for a major switch to electric vehicles in London. To help understand how charging infrastructure requirements differ for alternative types of vehicle, we published our ‘Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure: Location Guidance for London,’ which provides evidence-based guidance on where best to deliver charging infrastructure to meet the current and future needs of EV users. This document, together with the 12 independent studies undertaken on behalf of TfL, is available on the TfL website available at This guidance and the supporting studies have informed TfL’s response to the Bill.

3.6      In line with the Mayor’s aims, as set out in section 3 above (Vision for Charging Infrastructure in London), TfL supports measures to expedite the delivery of EV rapid charging points on-street, as a necessary enabler for commercial fleet operators to switch to zero emission capable vehicles.

3.7      At present, in London, there is no uniform approach to delivery which can delay provision of EV infrastructure.  Some boroughs follow a formal planning application process while others will seek to rely on permitted development rights given by t he Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended).  

3.8     TfL urges Government to provide clear guidance and best practice for authorities with specific provision for London with a view to facilitating and expediting the installation of publicly-accessible EV charging networks in a consistent and streamlined way.  Government is also encouraged to make specific provision for including EV infrastructure and associated physical elements within the permitted development regime.

4. Part 1: Insurance for Automated Vehicles

4.1 Clause 1: Listing of automated vehicles by the Secretary of State – for the avoidance of doubt, for consistency it may be appropriate in paragraph (2) to use the term ‘motor vehicle’ as opposed to ‘vehicle’.

4.2 The safety of our customers, staff and contractors is always TfL’s first priority. We would therefore like to draw attention to concerns about the use of autonomous motor vehicles on public footpaths in England and Wales. Paragraph (1), subsection (a) sets out the requirement for the Secretary of State to prepare a list of all motor vehicles that might be used on ‘roads or in other public places’. This may be interpreted as a material change to the definition of what activity is permitted on a public footpath, as defined under section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 and section 34 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

4.3 TfL would welcome consideration of the legality of the use of autonomous vehicles on public footpaths, including, but not limited to, dimensions, weight, payload, permitted speed, pedestrian safety and licensing requirements notwithstanding existing regulations covering mobility scooters.

4.4 Clause 2 specifies the circumstances under which liability for an accident is to be attributed to the insurer or owner of a vehicle. However, TfL notes that as AV technology develops, vehicles may be deployed which can perform elements of driving completely autonomously, but require a human driver to assume control in certain situations. It is not clear how long a period of time a human might need to assume full and unimpaired control of a vehicle, but it has been suggested that almost a minute might be required in some circumstances. TfL notes that the Bill is silent on how such transition periods might be treated for insurance purposes.

4.5 Finally on Part 1, it is important to recognise that the legislative and regulatory requirements for automated vehicles are likely to remain fluid as developmental progress is made. As such, TfL believes it is important that this Bill is regarded as just one stage of an ongoing process to bring autonomous technologies to market in a safe and orderly manner. It is incumbent on the Government to be flexible in its approach, and ensure it is both willing and able to act when new technologies reach market readiness, both to ensure that the potential benefits and opportunities offered by their deployment are realized, and to minimise the risk of unintended consequences.

5.            Part 2: Electric Vehicles (EV)  

5.1.       Improving the customer EV charging experience

5.2.      TfL welcomes the access and connection proposals under Clause 9 that ensure consistency across charging networks, information provision and introducing smart charging regulations. Improving customer experience can help to enable a higher usage rate of charge points and therefore increase commercial viability, which remains in its infancy. TfL would like to see the proposals go further with regulations that ensure the authorisation and payment processes at charging points are made simpler. For example, the auto-charge is part of the CCS fast charging protocol, and allows charging points to recognise a car at the start of a charging session and bill the correct account automatically. Further work may be needed to work with industry to develop a set of proposals to improve the customer experience across all types of charging infrastructure.

5.3.        TfL welcomes the government’s commitment to increase the provision of charging infrastructure to support mass market uptake of electric vehicles for essential road trips. EU State Aid regulations have acted as a key barrier in slowing down the design, installation and commissioning of charging infrastructure networks in London because they restrict the funding that can be awarded to private enterprises. We call on the government to seek State Aid exemptions for EV infrastructure projects to reduce time and cost involved in deploying public EV charging networks in towns and cities.

5.4.       Embedding EV charging requirements into the planning process

5.5.        Whilst the Bill does not explicitly reference the planning process, to meet targets for emissions reductions and air quality improvements new developments should support the switch to ULEVs. Therefore, clear requirements for charging facilities need to be set out in planning regulations. These should relate not just to charging points, but also to the provision of grid capacity and cabling for future charging points as well as the need for hydrogen re-fuelling facilities in or near industrial locations to serve large vehicles.

5.6.        Freight, deliveries and servicing, construction vehicles and taxis/coaches will also need to be considered as part of the planning process, and businesses should be incentivised to switch to the cleanest cars through procurement processes such as Construction Logistics Plans and procurement.

5.7.        In principle TfL supports Clause 10 of the Bill requiring large fuel retailers to provide pubic charging points on their premises. Land-use is one of the key challenges to rolling out electric charge points in London and the Mayor would like to see this extend explicitly to large public and private car parking operators, supermarkets and hotels that often have spare capacity sited in accessible locations. Furthermore, the Bill should clarify that these regulations can be imposed by Metro Mayors or local authorities under devolved powers so that cities or towns wanting to go further and quicker can do so without being restricted to the pace of national progress.

5.8         The market for electric charge points is maturing quickly, with a variety of products becoming available. There is uncertainty as to how these points should be treated as part of the planning process, which often delays their introduction and depending on interpretation, can heavily constrain where they are sited. We would welcome measures to improve the planning process for charge points so they can be treated as critical infrastructure.

6.        Information about publicly available charge points

6.1        TfL supports Clause 11, as our research has found that 81 per cent of ULEV drivers use digital sources to help them find available public charge points. Live data from infrastructure is therefore beneficial for end users, for example the ability to see if a charge point is free, in use or out of service. 

6.2      Range anxiety can still be an issue for EV users, and providing accurate data on charging/refuelling status will help to address consumer concerns.

6.3      The vast majority of existing infrastructure should have the capability to provide this data, particularly if the charge points are compliant with the latest Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) standards.

6.4      We require that charge point operators on TfL’s rapid charge point concession framework provide live charge point data. This live data will be consolidated and released via our open data feeds. 

6.5      Requiring open APIs will enable the data to be used by third party app developers which can help stimulate the market through aggregation of data. The bill should ensure there are no barriers for collection (or sharing of data by suppliers) to ensure we don’t lose the opportunity to extract its value later and that all charge point installations are made public as a mandatory requirement.

7.     Enforcement

7.1      With regards to Clause 13 TfL welcomes the inclusion of enforcement measures within the Bill to maximise the potential benefits of the other outlined measures and to ensure compliance from all operators.

7.2      For our rapid charge point concession framework, enforcement of contractual requirements is the responsibility of the relevant awarding authority, for example TfL for the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) or the borough within which the rapid charge point is located. Service level agreements (SLA) are specified in the concession contracts which the charge point operators will be expected to meet to ensure that a high level of customer service is delivered, with examples such as charge point operation, maintenance response times, and customer service responses.

7.3    Within the rapid charge point concession framework, if operators fail to comply with contractual requirements this would result in suspension from the framework contract or termination of the concession agreements. There are no financial penalties for non-compliance (other than the lost investment or lost revenue if the contract is terminated) because we are not paying them to operate a service.

7.4 TfL would welcome further discussions regarding the proposed enforcement measures.

8.    Energy demand and grid infrastructure challenges

8.1     We note analysis by National Grid [1] [1] that the peak energy demand of electrification of transport will be dependent on consumer behaviour, vehicle efficiency, and development of smart charging infrastructure. We believe that the potential impact of high uptake of EVs will be greater for distribution networks rather than transmission. The government must work closely with Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) to manage the impact of additional demand for charging infrastructure. In London, the vast majority of public spending on electric vehicle infrastructure is being spent on grid reinforcement, which is not sustainable in the long-term and a burden on local authorities.

8.2      We support plans to develop the smart grid and its potential impact on charging of EVs. We are already involved in a number of innovative charging projects, including induction charging and utilising existing power capacity to charge EVs. These include Zero Emission Urban Bus System (ZeEUS), Smart Electric Mobile Services for your City (SMARTiFY) and CleanMobileEnergy (CME).

8.3     We believe that smart EV charging is an important enabler for a future smart energy system, and whilst Clause 12 sets out some basic requirements for smart charging, it needs to be developed further to address potential local and regional grid problems and align fleet known patterns of travel e.g. networks with a built in queuing system that can manage charging on a residential street intelligently and according to pre-registered user requirements would be useful. When an electric car is fully charged, the system continues on to the next electric car, automatically. Standards should be developed in consultation with industry and highways authorities, and based on international protocols where possible. Once outside the EU, the UK will still be connected to a European energy network (i.e. through importing and exporting energy via the smart grid). Moreover, plug-in vehicles could, over time, incorporate much of the smart charging functionality into their own control systems.

8.4      In respect of ‘grid’ upgrades and reinforcement – by which we refer to low voltage distribution networks as the most relevant interface with electric vehicle users, the DNOs’ commercial relationship with customers may need to adapt. Regulation should balance the needs of consumers while requiring DNOs to proactively invest ahead of identified demand.  It’s likely that demand side response (dynamic tariffs, managed EV charging) and other innovation will effectively extend the capacity of DNO networks for some time, but eventually network reinforcement to meet peak demand will be required.

November 2017

[1] [1] ‘National Grid’, Future Energy Scenarios, 2017


Prepared 15th November 2017