At least 88 new, free electric vehicles rapid-charge points to be installed across West Yorkshire. Work to improve West Yorkshire’s air quality by encouraging the use of electric vehicles, is set to get underway in 2019.
After securing almost £2 million ($2.56 million) from the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) for the work, West Yorkshire Combined Authority has appointed energy and services company ENGIE to install and operate the new charging points.
Each charging point will have two charging bays. One will be specifically for taxis and private hire vehicles and the other will be for all other users. Typically, the charging points will provide a full charge to an electric vehicle in around 20 to 30 minutes and will be free to use until late October 2021.
The Combined Authority and its district partners, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield councils are providing £1.2 million ($1.54 million) of match funding. ENGIE will install, own and operate the charge points for at least 10 years. Work will soon get underway to identify suitable and convenient charge point locations.
Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee said: “Improving air quality across West Yorkshire and Leeds City Region while at the same time developing the transport networks vital to supporting inclusive growth is one of the Combined Authority’s key aims and this work will help us achieve that. Installing new charging points at these 88 sites, where people can charge their vehicles for free, is designed to encourage the transfer to electric vehicles.”
“Making half the bays exclusively for the use of taxis and private hire vehicles could result in up to 500 diesel taxis and private hire vehicles being converted to hybrid and pure electric versions by 2020, which would reduce Nitrogen Dioxide emissions from taxis by as much as 18%, in line with our target of developing Clean Energy and Environmental Resilience for Leeds City Region,” Kim Groves added.
Cllr James Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member with responsibility for sustainability and the environment, said: “Most residents agree that tackling air pollution in order to protect the health of everyone in Leeds should be a priority. As vehicles are the biggest contributor to outdoor air pollution in the city, everyone that switches to a zero-emission vehicles will be making a real difference to the air we breathe. By installing 30 charge points in and around Leeds within the next year, this scheme will make it easier and more accessible for residents to do their bit.”
Wilfrid Petrie, CEO of ENGIE UK and Ireland said: “ENGIE is committed to improving the lives of people in cities and urban areas by tackling air pollution and we hope the provision of rapid electric vehicle charge points across the West Yorkshire region will help encourage more people to choose a low emission vehicle. We have seen real success and tangible improvements in carbon reduction in cities where we have managed green mobility solutions and we are looking forward to seeing this being replicated across West Yorkshire.”
Several major private hire and taxi firms across West Yorkshire provided letters of support for the Combined Authority’s successful funding bid. Taxi and private hire drivers would be able to reserve time slots at the new charge points in what will be the second biggest project to provide charge points for taxis outside of London.
ENGIE has provided over 60,000 charge points worldwide and designs, installs, operates and maintains its charge points for public use, businesses and for home installation.