Three Staffordshire councils have come together to install electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities within local authority car parks in order to support local taxis and private hire vehicles in switching to less-polluting vehicles. The project is supported by SWARCO Smart Charging, one of the UK’s largest providers of EV charging infrastructure, and the first sites have already begun to go live.
Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Stafford Borough Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council have successfully partnered to secure funding of more than £750,000 from the Government’s Low Emission Taxi Infrastructure Scheme, which will result in thirty rapid chargers being installed across 15 car parks owned by the three authorities.
The first sites, which include the car parks at King Street (Kidsgrove), Chancery Lane, and South Wolfe Street in Stoke-on-Trent, went live in April – with the remaining sites coming into operation over the course of the next few months. The new network of EV charging points will be operated by SWARCO Smart Charging, which will supply, install, and maintain the infrastructure.
The charge points are 50kW rapid chargers with contactless payment and, while some of them will be open for public use, at least half will be reserved for taxis and private hire vehicles, who will also benefit from reduced tariffs – with the standard public rate of £0.49 p/kwh and £0.45 p/kwh for taxis. The network and usage data will be constantly monitored and reviewed so that changes can be made in line with growing demand from the electric taxi and private hire trade.
“This is a well thought out plan to provide a network of charge points that connects different locations to support drivers on their regular routes and fares,” said Justin Meyer, Managing Director of SWARCO Smart Charging.
“We are encouraged by the response of local taxi and private hire operators that can see the impact a dedicated accessible charging infrastructure will have on supporting their future plans.”
By increasing the availability of EV charge points, which will encourage more taxi and private hire drivers to switch to EVs, the installation of an EV charging infrastructure in council-owned car parks will also support the Government’s initiatives to secure cleaner air, encourage the uptake of low and zero emissions vehicles and reduce transport related CO2.
“We’re really pleased to be one of the first councils in Staffordshire to install shared electric vehicle charging points,” said Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Recycling, Trevor Johnson.
“We recognise the increasing requirement for easy-to-access facilities for electric vehicles and, as a Council, we want to do everything we can to help reduce emissions, improve air quality, make the move away from fossil fuels and work towards a net zero carbon rating.
“Residents may have seen the charging points in place already in Goose Street car park and King Street, in Kidsgrove. These are shared facilities for our residents and taxis. It is great that taxis registered in the borough are also playing their part, helping us to lead the way to healthier and more environmentally friendly travel.”
The charging points will be installed in council car parks in central locations with space to accommodate charge points and the energy supply, and that offer 24-hour access for drivers.
Locations at King Street (Kidsgrove), South Wolfe Street and Kingsway (Stoke), Chancery Lane (Longton) and Goose Street (Newcastle) are already live.
In mid-June, locations will be up and running at Hope Street, Hanley (city centre); Broad Street, Victoria Park, North Walls and Doxey Road in Stafford; at Commerce Steet, Longton, in June; at King Street, Newcastle, and The Parade, Silverdale, in July; as well as Crown Steet, Stone, in August.