Eighty-eight new, free electric vehicles rapid-charge points to be installed across West Yorkshire

23 November 2018

Work to improve West Yorkshire's air quality by encouraging the use of electric vehicles, through the installation of 88 new, free rapid charging points is set to get underway in 2019.

After securing almost £2 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.

Free until late October 2021

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 £1.2m 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."

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. In our recent consultation, many residents and businesses in Leeds told us that they'd be more likely to switch to a cleaner electric vehicle if there were more places to charge. 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."

"The delivery of the rapid electric vehicle charging network gives people a real incentive to consider switching to low emissions vehicles. Those who rely on their vehicles to make a living, such as taxi and private hire vehicle drivers, can now do that in a greener, more cost-effective way."

"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.

Mike Utting, chairman of Leeds hackney carriage joint trade council said: "As the representative of the Hackney Carriage trade, I would like to pass on our concerns regarding the lack of charging points on the infrastructure."

"Many of our members tell us they would be keen to convert, but say they are concerned by the lack of charging infrastructure."

"I am sure that knowing these new exclusive charging points are in place and being able to reserve specific charging times, to charge up for free in just 20 to 30 minutes, will help them take that decision."

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council's Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: "As part of our Low Emissions Strategy, we want to encourage residents and businesses in Bradford to consider switching to electric vehicles, and one of the best ways to do this is to make it convenient and free for people to access charging points."

"We are determined to increase our commitment to reduce the Council's carbon footprint while staying at the forefront of new ultra-low emission technology. Encouraging the use of electric cars helps us achieve both and we hope that the additional 20 charging points will make Bradford drivers think about making their next car an electric one."

Calderdale Council's Cabinet Member for Planning, Housing and Environment, Cllr Daniel Sutherland, said: "We're pleased to be a part of this forward-thinking scheme which will benefit drivers across the region. It will be of particular benefit for those who make regular journeys, like taxi drivers, and having the charge points in taxi bays will be a real incentive for drivers to switch to an ultra-low emission vehicle."

"We're committed to improving air quality in the region and by increasing the number of electric vehicles, more communities will benefit from cleaner air as part of a greener and more sustainable transport network."

Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council said: "The continued mass use of petrol and diesel fueled vehicles is not sustainable. They're damaging to our environment and our health. That's why we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint, across Kirklees. As well as developing a broad transport infrastructure, including contributing to a regional strategy, we want to encourage the use of sustainable transport such as electric vehicles.

"The investment in 17 free rapid charging points, several of which will be for taxis, is a step in the right direction in helping reduce our impact on the environment."

Cllr Maureen Cummings, Cabinet Member for Environment and Communities at Wakefield Council, said: "This is a great initiative which supports the growing interest in electric vehicles which are kind to the environment, have no exhaust emissions and help to improve air quality."

"Having these charging points in place in our district and elsewhere in West Yorkshire will mean these vehicles are a practical alternative to petrol and diesel cars and I hope will encourage more people to consider it as an option."

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. The company already has a strong presence in Yorkshire where it provides a wide range of energy, services and regeneration activities - including energy efficiency improvements to over 3,000 homes as the delivery partner of the Better Homes Yorkshire initiative. In 2017 ENGIE's public charge points in Rotterdam delivered 480,000 transactions and supplied 3.6 GWh of renewable energy, this equates to 30 million driving kilometres and a reduction of 4.5 million kilograms of CO2 in just one year.