Councils in West Yorkshire have struck a deal with France’s Engie to install 88 rapid charging stations which will be free to use until late 2021. Moreover, each station will reserve a bay for electric taxis and shared electric vehicles.
Engie will own and operate the network and promised to supply 100% renewable power for the 88 chargers. West Yorkshire Combined Authority placed the order after securing almost £2 million from the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) for the work. In addition the Combined Authority and its district partners, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield councils are providing £1.2m of match funding.
Each charging point will have two charging bays. One will be specifically for electric taxis and private hire vehicles and the other will be for all other users. Counsellor Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority expressed their expectations: “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%.”
Indeed several private hire and taxi firms across West Yorkshire provided letters of support for the Combined Authority’s successful funding bid. 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.
The councils claim the charging points will provide a full charge of an electric vehicle in around 20 to 30 minutes. All 88 stations will be free to use until late October 2021 while Engie’s contract runs over ten years. The utility has become increasingly active in Britain and invested 3m pounds in UK-based Connected Energy, known for its stationary energy storage system E-STOR reportedly.
The next step is to identify suitable charge point locations in West Yorkshire.