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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sainsbury's launches London electric car charge network

Sainsbury's opened the latest front in the supermarket green arms race yesterday, with the launch of a new electric car recharging network for shoppers across London.

Electric car drivers in central London will now have access to a new network of easy access charge points courtesy of supermarket company Sainsbury's – and they will be free to use for its customers.

Sainsbury’s has fitted 11 of its stores with the new charge points – Beckton, Camden, Chiswick, Cromwell Road, East Dulwich, Greenwich Peninsula, Islington, North Cheam, Sydenham, Wandsworth and Whitechapel.

London already boasts a number of electric car recharging points. Elektromotive, which introduced its first Elektrobay recharging stations in Westminster in 2006, has to date installed over 100 electric charging points in the capital. The move by Sainsbury's though is an important one because of where they are located, putting half the city's population within three miles of a charging point.

Almost 70 per cent of harmful particulate emissions in London come from road transport, whereas electric cars have zero emissions when being driven. Electric vehicles, meanwhile result in between 25 per cent and 50 per cent less CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere and reductions could increase considerably as technology improves.

Neil Sachdev, Sainsbury’s commercial director, described the move as creating an "electric vehicle superhighway" for London and predicted that in 10 years time, the retailer will have recharge points available at all of its stores in large cities.

"Sainsbury’s is already one of the country’s largest users of these vehicles and we hope that this initiative will encourage more of our customers to follow our lead," he said. "Electric vehicles create less noise and help keep the city’s air clean. More of these cars will appear on our streets as the technology improves, meaning convenient recharge points will become increasingly important."

Sainsbury's move was welcomed by London Mayor Boris Johnson, who wants to turn the city into the electric vehicle capital of Europe. "Central to this aim is the provision of charge points across the capital to ensure Londoners can go electric with the confidence that they can charge up where ever they are. I warmly welcome the arrival of Sainsbury's network of charge points,” he said.

Sainsbury’s said it uses electric cars for its own operations, with a fleet of electric vehicles within its online delivery operation in central London and is procuring more for use in the city.

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