Heathrow rolls out rapid charging points for London's new electric black cabs and accelerates drive to turn all its vehicles electric

Rebecca Smith
The airport said it had welcomed a 50th electric vehicle to its fleet
The airport said it had welcomed a 50th electric vehicle to its fleet (Source: Getty)

Heathrow Airport said today over half of its cars have gone electric, after previously pledging to make its whole fleet of small vans and cars electric by 2020.

It has brought on board 50 electric vehicles out of 96 identified with the potential to be electric or plug-in hybrid with existing technology.

The airport is also working with Transport for London (TfL) to install rapid charging points for the capital's new electric black cabs by the end of the year, as all newly licensed cabs have to be zero emissions capable from January.

The move forms part of the airport's efforts to help cut emissions and congestion due to airport traffic.

Read more: It's here: London's new electric black cab is ready for passengers

At present, Heathrow has over 80 charging points available to its staff, passengers, and airside vehicles. It plans to spend over £5m on charging infrastructure by the end of next year.

The airport's boss John Holland-Kaye has previously spoken of the transformative effect that going electric is likely to have on aviation, not just the automotive sector, including in helping to slashing noise from planes.

Last month, Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens announced plans to develop a hybrid plane, while EasyJet has teamed up with US startup Wright Electric to propel its electric ambitions too.

Heathrow meanwhile, is focused on cleaning up its vehicles on the ground. It has been investing in charging infrastructure and plans to introduce an airside ultra-low emissions zone so all of the vehicles operating on its airfield have to meet the strictest emission standards.

The airport has also been updating a league table of its cleanest and dirtiest airlines to keep bad performers under scrutiny, and praise those improving.

Holland-Kaye said the airport's sustainability strategy ties Heathrow to "some ambitious but realistic targets to clean up our fleet and speed up the take-up of electric technology across our airport".

"Since our pledge to switch to electric cars and vans in 2015 we have made tremendous progress towards improving air quality in our city, but we are committed to go further yet," he added.

Read more: Heathrow reveals the latest rankings of its cleanest and dirtiest airlines

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