SWARCO has signed a new contract for taxi charging across the north east of England.
It will install ten new eVolt 50kW rapid charging stations for the use of taxis and private hire vehicles, each of which will be supplied by 100% renewable electricity.
Transport North East’s funding from the government’s Ultra Low Emissions Taxi Infrastructure Scheme will fund the chargers, with the group working with SWARCO helping to select the best locations.
Key locations were mapped, taking into account land that is wholly owned by the authorities, either within car parks or on-street. SWARCO and Transport North East also considered dwell times and where fares are typically picked up as they chose the locations.
The chargers on the SWARCO E.Connect network will be installed at two locations in Newcastle, two in North Tyneside, and one in South Tyneside. Additionally one charger will be installed at sites in Durham, Gateshead, Northumberland and Sunderland.
Justin Meyer, general manager of SWARCO eVolt, says its work goes beyond the provision of the charging infrastructure.
“While we are very pleased to see the SWARCO E.Connect network grow with more and more public and private sector organisations adopting our eVolt charge points, we are also using our knowledge and expertise to help give drivers the confidence to switch.
“We want them to know that the infrastructure is being installed to make the switch viable today, rather than being something to delay until regulations force them to change their vehicle sometime in the future.
"By changing now, we also support local government in reducing emissions in city centres, and we are actively coordinating engagement with fleet operators to help persuade them to take action today.”
Around the UK, more councils are looking to rollout charging infrastructure to drive the transition to electric vehicles. In June, Engie announced a new contract with Bromsgrove District Council to help rollout taxi charging infrastructure.
Councillor Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council and chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “We are looking forward to this investment being made to ensure that taxi and private hire drivers will always have access to reliable charging when they need it. This is particularly relevant given the air quality challenges we face in the region together with the drive to decarbonise the transport network.
“We have examples of taxi and private hire fleets transitioning exclusively to electric vehicles and as the rapid chargers are added to the local infrastructure, we hope more will follow.”
Work has already begun to install the chargers, with all ten expected to be completed by Autumn.