Free trials of electric vans for organisations in West Yorkshire

Leeds City Council and Highways England have 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, businesses and organisations will also be able to register to trial a range of private hire vehicles and e-bikes.

The scheme will tackle air pollution to protect the health of everyone in our region by helping businesses and organisations to reduce their emissions from travel.

Launched at a sold-out event at Headingley Stadium today, the new scheme will build on the growing popularity of ultra-low and zero emission vehicles in West Yorkshire. Since 2017, the number of electric and hybrid vehicles registered in our region has more than doubled.

More than 250 businesses and private hire drivers have already expressed their interest in the EV Trials scheme with organisations from a range of sectors, sizes and industries getting in touch. This includes businesses ranging from dog walkers, gas distributors, catering companies and healthcare organisations.

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

In a recent consultation more than 70% of Leeds residents surveyed said that they would consider switching to a low emission vehicle already or would do so if barriers were removed.


Councillor James Lewis, Executive Member for Resources at Leeds City Council, said:

“Everyone has a responsibility to reduce emissions, help tackle air pollution and reduce their carbon footprint. 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.

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

“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.”


Christopher Plumb, Highways England Air Quality Specialist, said:

“We are excited to be supporting this project by Leeds City Council which encourages more businesses to try out electric vehicles.

“This project forms part of a programme of activity by Highways England to improve air quality across our network.”


For more information about the scheme, please visit: or email



For media enquiries please contact:

Elina Luty

0113 378 1894


Chad Newton

01133 789849


Notes for editors:

The EV Trials scheme supports the council’s wider plans to become a carbon neutral city by 2030.

There are more than 290 public EV charge points in West Yorkshire as of October 2019. This includes 141 in Leeds, 48 in Bradford, 41, 34 in Wakefield and 19 in Calderdale. More information can be found at:

Individuals and organisations can apply for government funding to install electric vehicle chargepoints through schemes including the workplace charging scheme and electric vehicle homecharge scheme. More information can be found:

Leeds City Council has recently updated its planning policy to require new parking developments in the city to include new electric vehicle charge points.

Leeds City Council is also working in partnership with ENGIE and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to install 88 new rapid charging bays across the county. At least 30 of these new charge bays will be installed in Leeds by March 2020. Each of these chargers will be free to use until October 2021.

Official data on the number of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) registered and licensed at the county and local authority level at:


Let's clear a few things up


Cyclists and pedestrians are exposed to more air pollution than drivers


Wrong. As well as being better for your health and fitness, evidence shows that cyclists and pedestrians are also less exposed to air pollution than people in vehicles. This is because your air filter probably doesn’t remove pollution from the air it circulates and being on the road itself means that your vehicles is surrounded by exhaust fumes. Pedestrians and cyclists are also less exposed because even 1 metre away from traffic, there is considerably less pollution than on the road itself.


Turning your engine on and off again whilst sat in traffic releases more emissions than leaving it running.


Whether you’re stuck in traffic or just waiting to pick someone up, if you think that your car might be stationary for more than 2 minutes it’s better to turn your engine off than leave it running. Doing so will reduce the amount of gases harmful to our health and the environment that your car emits. It’s an easy way to reduce your own contribution to air pollution!


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