The mayor of London has a solution for the vexing problem facing electric car owners: Where to re-charge?

Seeking to reduce harmful emissions in his own city, Mayor Boris Johnson said every Londoner would be within a mile of an electric car charging station within the next five years, The Guardian reported. Addressing other city mayors at the tail end of the climate talks in Copenhagen, Johnson said electric cars would reduce harmful emissions without settling for “hair-shirt abstinence.”

It is the second piece of an electric car solution introduced by the London mayor. In April, Johnson announced a plan to introduce 100,000 cars in London by building charging stations and offering incentives to drivers to switch to electric vehicles.

His recent announcement builds on the first and envisions 25,000 charging stations around London by 2015, including 22,500 at workplaces, 500 on city streets and 2,000 in public car parks.

"There is an urgent need to tackle the risk of serious and irreversible climate change, yet this does not need to be about hair-shirt abstinence," Johnson said. "I want to pursue radical yet practical steps to cut energy waste. Electric vehicles are a clear example of how technology can provide the solution to the biggest challenge of our generation."

The "right conditions," he said, must be in place to usher in a "golden era of clean, green electric motoring."

Like other urban politicians, Johnson’s solution is meant to address London’s poor air quality. Indeed, it is among the worst in Europe. What’s more, Britain faces a real possibility of being fined millions of pounds in fines for non-compliance with a European Union directive limiting the emission of pollutants — called PM10s — from traffic, industry and domestic heating, largely because of London’s air quality problem.

Johnson’s plan, which he expects to receive federal funding, goes a long way toward a goal of mainstream use of zero carbon electric vehicles. A Web site by Transport for London will be launched next year to tell residents about payment options. Leading by example, he plans to purchase 1,000 electric vehicles for the London authority fleet by 2015.

Still, the plan has skeptics. Darren Johnson, a Green member of the London assembly, criticized the scrapping of a £25 charge for gas-guzzlers and a proposal to do away with a congestion charge zone.

"The mayor's plan for electric vehicles in London will reduce air pollution, but do nothing to reduce road casualties, congestion or community disruption," he said. "He has failed to guarantee that all the charging points will be powered from renewable energy, which means that the short-term benefits to climate change are relatively small."

Electric cars for London
London's latest nickname is the electric car capital of the world -- bolstered by a plan to introduce 100,000 electric cars and 25,000 charging stations.