The local authority has purchased 39 new electric vehicles, including two electric waste vehicles, as part of its fleet replacement strategy. Thirteen of the vehicles are currently in use.
However, the local authority has been forced to defend the programme after the independent councillor Mark Warters branded it a ‘fiasco’.
At a meeting in December, Cllr Warters highlighted the fact that the local authority didn’t have enough charging points in place to accommodate all of the new electric vehicles. He also accused the council of hiding the non-operational EVs.
‘Anyone wishing to run an EV would use their common sense and ensure they had appropriate charging facilities in place before buying the vehicle,’ he told the meeting.
‘How does the council get over this embarrassing an expensive fiasco? By hiding these brand new unused vehicles out of sight in the hope that awkward questions aren’t asked,’ he added while holding up a photo of the parked vehicles.
A spokesperson for City of York Council said that the EVs that were not currently being used were ‘either in the process of being deployed or are awaiting fitting with racking for Building Services trades.’
They said the delays were ‘due to difficulties with supply chains.’ However, the spokesperson also admitted that the right charging infrastructure was not yet in place.
‘If we waited for the infrastructure before ordering the vehicles then we would be waiting around a year for vehicles to arrive, such is the lead in time for EV Commercial vehicles. That’s why we took the decision to order so they were ready to deploy as soon as possible.’
They continued: ‘Those that are being used are being charged either at the depot or at Hyperhubs and public charging points. There are more chargers to go into the depot and this work is underway. This work is behind schedule, partly due to a power outage and the associated works with dealing with finding existing cables at the depot which were not in ducting as indicated on the plans. I would also note that there is no cost for the storage at Harewood Whin, we have agreed a no cost storage deal with Yorwaste.’
The council spokesperson also added that if they had waited to purchase the vehicles, then the cost would have increased due to inflation.
‘It is important to note that the cost and demand for electric vehicles is rising so quickly that should we have waited for the infrastructure the inflation would have driven the cost significantly higher, indeed the vehicles in storage are already more valuable now than when we purchased them.’