When a local authority is looking to purchase an electric vehicle (EV) for its fleet, charging infrastructure is one of the key considerations. The fewer EV charge points available, the harder it is to justify adding EVs to the fleet.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has been working with EQUANS EV Solutions to ensure West Yorkshire local authorities – and the wider community – have access to charge points and so feel more comfortable about EV adoption.

After securing funding from the Government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), the combined authority appointed EQUANS to deliver 88 new charge points across Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield, all using 100% renewable energy. EQUANS provided project investment and free charging at all charging points for the first two years, and even went beyond the original agreement and have installed 93 charging points to date.

The chargers have proven popular. Since the launch in 2019, over 11 million free miles have been provided to drivers. This has contributed to the effort to improve air quality. Around 3.3 million kilowatt hours of green energy has been dispensed – enough to power a typical EV around the planet 467 times. Over 2,600 tonnes of CO2 have been saved by drivers.

Dee Humphries, managing director of EV Solutions at EQUANS UK & Ireland, said: ‘We’re committed to improving the lives of people in cities and urban areas by working with local authorities to tackle air pollution. It starts with providing residents with accessible and reliable charging points, helping to encourage and support more people in choosing a low emission vehicle.

‘Our partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority has been successful in terms of CO2 savings and providing green energy for EV drivers across the region, helping to improve air quality for residents – something which is vital for all local authorities across the country looking to protect the health of their residents and work towards a carbon neutral future.’

The boost to West Yorkshire’s charging infrastructure provided by EQUANS has helped local authorities in the area make the transition to electric vehicles. Leeds City Council, for example, has seen significant benefits as a result of the project. The council has around 1000 vehicles, of which 390 are electric. It started its EV journey back in 2016, but increased access to charging points has helped enable it deliver local services in the confidence that its EVs won’t be a problem.

During the pandemic, for example, the Leeds City Council fleet undertook the delivery of critical work to support service delivery in PPE distribution, food deliveries, and other urgent support services. EQUANS’ network provided essential charging facilities for the EV fleet in key areas across West Yorkshire. Through the provision of rapid charging, the council was able to ensure maximum utilisation of their fleet, as they were able to charge out of hours quickly. This delivered significant time savings, compared to overnight charging at depots.

And other local authorities and residents in the area will also benefit from the increased access to charge points as the combined authority continues its journey to net zero. Cllr Kim Groves, West Yorkshire transport committee lead member for public transport, commented: ‘Here in West Yorkshire, we’re committed to becoming a net zero carbon economy by 2038 at the latest, and installing electric vehicle charging points is one of the ways we will deliver on that promise.

‘We know one of the barriers to people making the switch to an electric car is knowing where they can charge their vehicles and I’m proud that our region has the highest number of rapid charging points outside of London.’