Hackney is set to become the national leader in electric vehicle (EV) charging after Hackney Council signed a contract with Zest to provide and operate its sector-defining charge point rollout of 2,500 fast and slow chargers across the borough’s seven square miles.  

The move is part of the Council’s commitment to decarbonise the transport system in Hackney - a key goal in its Climate Action Plan - and it is set to agree a further contract for up to 150 rapid chargers across the borough, which fully charge EVs in under an hour. This will take the total number of charging points in Hackney to 3,000 by 2026.

The agreements are the first example of a local authority using its procurement powers and expertise to partner with the private sector to install thousands of new charging points. The rollout will result in the most concentrated network of EV chargers in any local authority area in the UK.

All of the charging points will use 100% renewable energy, with a discounted rate available for Hackney residents through Hackney Light and Power, the Council’s energy services arm.

While only a third of households in Hackney own a car, the new charging network is designed to encourage those drivers and businesses to switch to electric vehicles or to new electric vehicle car clubs.

The rollout will be completed at no cost to the Council, with its partner Zest, which is backed by the Government-sponsored Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, set to fund the capital and operational costs of the programme.

Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, said: “Road transport accounts for 24% of UK carbon emissions and is a significant contributor to air pollution, which is why we want to support people to switch to EVs or car clubs- a key part of the ambitions set out in our new Climate Action Plan.
“I hope this ambitious plan for thousands of new charging points shows how local councils can be at the forefront of work to tackle climate change, lead innovation and help to pave the way for wider transport decarbonisation in the UK.”
Cllr Mete Coban, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “While we are proud to champion walking, cycling and public transport first and foremost, the switch to EVs will help to tackle pollution and create a greener, healthier Hackney.
“This programme sits alongside our plans for a low traffic Hackney, with thousands of new bike parking spaces and safer walking routes. Over the next few months we want to work with every community in Hackney to shape where these charging points go across our streets and estates.”
Robin Heap, Zest CEO, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Hackney to help deliver on their bold decarbonisation strategy. Providing abundant charging facilities, and supporting car clubs to go electric, will make EV a more natural choice for people across the borough.
“Our role is to work with organisations that want to build bigger and move faster in EV charging, investing in high quality facilities and providing a convenient long-term service.”

The first of the new chargers will be installed in late 2023. 1,500 slow chargers will be mounted on existing lampposts. The 1,000 fast chargers (on 500 charging units with capacity for two vehicles) and 150 rapid chargers (on 75 charging units with capacity for two vehicles) will be installed in existing parking bays so they do not take up space on pavements. The rollout of the new chargers will be completed by 2026.

New electric vehicle charging only bays will be introduced by every charge point and, as part of the rollout, every housing estate in the borough will be served by at least one charging point, with a target of 300 charging points located on estates.

The network is planned to meet expected demand from Hackney residents - whether this is residential overnight charging or professional drivers needing to charge fully in 30 minutes.