EQUANS (the new name for ENGIE’s services-led activities), in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, has helped tackle air pollution in the region through the installation of over 85 free-to-use electric vehicle (EV) chargers – helping to create a more sustainable environment, and putting West Yorkshire at the forefront of EV charging provision as it now boasts the highest number of rapid EV chargers across any county in the UK.

To date, the partnership has enabled drivers to save 2,164 tonnes of CO2 and has dispensed 2.7 million kilowatt hours of green energy – enough to power a typical EV around the planet 380 times.

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority secured almost £2million from the Government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) in 2019, and subsequently appointed EQUANS to support its effort to accelerate the provision of EV chargers and encourage drivers in the region to make the switch from petrol and diesel.

To support the increase of EV uptake within the region, EQUANS provided free charging at all charging points for the first two years as further incentive for residents and business users. The charge points across Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, and Wakefield have since provided more than nine million free miles to over 10,000 registered drivers.

Recent data from the Department for Transport has suggested that since the scheme was introduced, the purchase of ultra-low emission vehicles in West Yorkshire has risen by 189% - suggesting the scheme has raised awareness of low emission vehicles and promoted purchase across the region.

For every charging point installed, EQUANS delivered two bays – one which is specifically for taxis and private hire vehicles and the second for all other users. Across the West Yorkshire region, there are estimated to be 500 taxi and private hire vehicles and it is hoped that the designated bays, coupled with the growing network of chargers across the wider area, will motivate all taxi drivers to make the switch - further reducing harmful Nitrogen Dioxide emissions across West Yorkshire.

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 drivers with accessible and reliable charging points, helping to encourage and support more people in choosing a low emission vehicle.

“EQUANS is passionate about succeeding in the mission to reduce emissions and so we were delighted to be in a position where we could actively invest in the scheme and provide free miles as further incentive.

“West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s bold ambition should be a driving force for other local authorities across the country who are looking to protect the health of their residents and work towards a carbon neutral future.”

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Chair of West Yorkshire Transport Committee, said: “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.

“But there are many other obstacles and that’s why we’re continuing to call on the Government to go further.”

The charging points will continue to be free until 29th October 2021. After which the chargers across West Yorkshire will become part of the GeniePoint network and will continue to be owned and operated by EQUANS. EQUANS are on track to deliver a further 15 charging points across West Yorkshire by 29th October 2021.