Leeds City Council has launched a new scheme giving businesses, organisations and charities in West Yorkshire the opportunity to drive electric vans free of charge for up to two months.

As part of the EV Trials scheme, which has been launched in partnership with Highways England, businesses and organisations will also be able to register to trial a range of private hire vehicles and e-bikes.

A part of the council’s effort to tackle air pollution, the new scheme will build on the growing popularity of ultra-low and zero emission vehicles in West Yorkshire.

The number of electric and hybrid vehicles registered in the region has more than doubled since 2017.

‘Everyone has a responsibility to reduce emissions, help tackle air pollution and reduce their carbon footprint,’ said Cllr James Lewis, executive member for resources at Leeds City Council.

‘We know that changing to electric vehicles would be a leap in the dark for some so this trial is to support businesses to understand the charging regime without having to make an upfront financial commitment.’

More than 250 businesses and private hire drivers have already expressed their interest in the EV Trials scheme including organisations ranging from dog walkers, gas distributors, catering companies and healthcare organisations, the council says.

Organisations participating in the trial will receive advice to better understand how much money and emissions they could save by investing in greener and cleaner vehicles.

‘Not only are electric vehicles better for the environment, they’re also cheaper to run and maintain than traditional diesel and petrol vehicles,’ said Cllr Lewis.

‘We’d encourage businesses and organisations from across the region to consider taking up a free trial. EVs could help them save on running costs while reducing levels of pollution in Leeds.’