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New scheme aims to drive emissions to zero with free trials of electric vehicles for businesses in Leeds

Leeds is to continue building on the surging popularity of electric vehicles in the city by offering local businesses the chance to trial a range of electric vehicles (EVs) from Spring 2019.

Leeds City Council is partnering with Highways England to offer businesses the chance to trial electric vans and cars for a free two month period to get a better understanding of the benefits and how electric vehicles could work for their businesses going forward.

The scheme will enable the city to continue to put a focus on electric technology and its benefits after recent news that Leeds has experienced the highest growth of electric vehicles yet in 2017/18, with a 48% growth compared to the previous year.

Highways England will invest £2 million into the project with a further £900,000 investment from Leeds City Council via a government grant to allow the scheme to run for an initial two years.

Vans will form the majority of the new electric fleet, made up of around 70 vehicles available to loan.

As well as vans, the fleet will also include a number of electric car models suitable for use as Leeds-licensed private hire and taxi vehicles.

Each vehicle will also be fitted with a device that provides detailed journey and charging data, helping companies understand how they’ve used the vehicle and, with impartial expert support, help them to make an informed decision about whether to purchase one (or more) for their own fleet.

At a meeting of the council’s executive board next week (13 February 2019) council chiefs will be asked to approve the procurement of the new vehicles as well as plans for an alternative fuel strategy for the city, which includes plans to retrofit four of the council’s refuse collection vehicles.