West Yorkshire plans free-to-use rapid EV charging network


Councils in West Yorkshire have struck a deal with Engie for dozens of electric vehicle (EV) rapid charging stations which will be free to use until late 2021.

The energy supplier will own and operate the network and supply 100% renewable power for up to 88 chargers.

The charging stations should provide a full charge in 20-30 minutes.

To help pay for the infrastructure, West Yorkshire Combined Authority has some £2m in funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). The Councils of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield are providing an additional £1.2m of match funding.

Each charging station will have two bays – one for taxis and private hire vehicles, the other for anyone to use.

The councils hope that providing fast, free charging will encourage people to switch to EVs.

Cllr Kim Groves, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, hopes free fuel will persuade taxi drivers to convert to hybrid and pure electric vehicles. If 500 do so by 2020, that “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”, she said.

Engie said public charge points it installed in Rotterdam last year were used 480,000 times, which it claimed equates to 30 million driving kilometres and a reduction of 4.5 million kilograms of CO2 in one year. The firm hopes to make inroads with similar models in the UK.

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