Today has been the day of electric vehicles and this morning we had a range of them, including a sports car and a van, parked as Asda Kingston for the launch of Source London. This brings another wave of electric charging points (some 150) to the streets of London as well as in car parks, supermarkets and elsewhere.
There are already over 2000 electric vehicles registered inside London. They are fantastically cheap to run - the Government will offer a grant of £5000 for qualifying purchases, there is no road tax, no congestion charge, and the electricity is very cheap - £100 a year for using any of the charging points being introduced and whatever your domestic tariff is at home.
A very high proportion of car journeys in London are below 6 miles and 90% of all UK car journeys are under 100 miles. New electric vehicles have a range of about 100 miles and whilst this is clearly enough for most home-based users, additional charging points are considered critical for users to gain confidence in their vehicle and of course deal with people who only have on-street parking at home and cannot easily get an overnight charge.
I drove the Nissan Leaf today - it drives like an ordinary car, with good acceleration and top speed. It has a normal size boot and four good seats. The only main difference is that it is absolutely silent!
Having brought it to a location close to the venue I handed it over to Mayor Boris Johnson who drove it into the ASDA car park and one of the new charging points in front of the world's media and was featured extensively on the daytime and evening news.
Quentin Wilson was also on hand to lend his support and my photo shows him with Boris and our own electric Nissan.
Until now electric vehicles have been considered as specialist technical experiments with limited range and high and uncertain costs. They are increasingly cheap to own and use but a major barrier - the certainty of a recharging point out and about - is now increasingly being overcome. We will have 1300 charging points by 2013 and in handy places - so you can top up whilst shopping or eating out.
Anyway - that was today. Tomorrow Friday the Mayor and I get to see first hand the New Bus for London Engineering Test Vehicle in action. There will be media coverage in the usual places and here!