27 November 2018 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Energy and services group Engie has been appointed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority to provide a new network of at least 88 rapid electric vehicle charging points across the region.
The initiative will help improve air quality in West Yorkshire and also aims to encourage the use of electric vehicles.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority has secured almost £2 million funding from the Government's Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).
The Authority will work together with ENGIE and its district partners: the Councils of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield - which are providing an additional £1.2 million of match funding.
Under the agreement, Engie will install, own and operate the charge points for a period of at least 10 years.
They will also provide 100 per cent renewable electricity for the charging network.
Work will soon get underway to identify suitable and convenient charge point locations, with installations beginning in 2019.
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. Taxi and private hire drivers will 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. 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.
Councillor 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 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 per cent, in line with our target of developing Clean Energy and Environmental Resilience for Leeds City Region."
Wilfrid Petrie, CEO of Engie UK and Ireland, added: "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."
The provision of green mobility solutions is part of Engie's wider strategy to combine its capabilities to assist local authorities and other public sector customers with placemaking - working alongside them to shape the future use of their estates and public spaces to enhance the lives of those that use them.
Engie has provided over 60,000 electric vehicle charge points worldwide and designs, installs, operates and maintains its charge points for public use, businesses and for home installation. 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.