Agenda item

Update on the EV Infrastructure Strategy

To consider the report of the Chief Officer Climate, Energy and Green Spaces on the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy (EVCI). The EVCI Strategy identified the key actions and the role of the Council in facilitating and supporting the development of infrastructure required to support the transition to zero-tailpipe emission vehicles.




The Committee considered the report of the Chief Officer Climate, Energy and Green Spaces on the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy (EVCI). The EVCI Strategy identified the key actions and the role of the Council in facilitating and supporting the development of infrastructure required to support the transition to zero-tailpipe emission vehicles.


Andy Hickford, Senior Project Manager, Climate, Energy & Green Spaces team presented the report and highlighted the following:

-  The Strategy published in 2022 acknowledged the significant carbon emissions from transport and aimed to ensure that the infrastructure and facilities were in place to encourage people to change to EV travel. A shift to walking and cycling was also required to achieve zero carbon.


-  Leeds has already seen a significant transition to electric vehicle usage which will improve air quality and bring carbon savings. It should be noted that EV are not 100% emission free as there will be particulate matter caused by brake and tyre wear. 2


-  500 public charging points have been installed and 50,000 EVs have been registered in Leeds. Charging points have been installed in diverse locations across the city and increasingly, charging points are commercially led. The number of private charging points is unknown, but there are a number in schools who have successfully bid for funding to install them and some are installed as a condition on planning permissions.


-  Leeds City Council’s own vehicle fleet is significantly EV, one of the levers the local authority has to encourage others to use EV is to show their benefits. LCC has piloted and demonstrated the viability of EV vans to small and medium sized business to show how they work/capacity, and whilst the initial purchase of an EV may be more expensive than a petrol/diesel vehicle, over the length of ownership it will be cheaper.


-  Implementing the Strategy includes working with the Government and operators to secure funding to support installation on LCC owned land, to support residential charging and working with LCC Highways and Transportation on designs to facilitate on-street charging. Installation should consider other transport modes, accessibility and existing walking and cycling infrastructure and be mindful of other works ongoing in Connecting Leeds Strategy so that installation works do not undermine other highways work being done.


-  With funding secured, the next step is engagement to seek the views of Members, Directorates and businesses on plans to roll out additional charging points.


-  One of the challenges to installation is the capacity and suitability of the National Grid which will inform where points can be installed and costs. Consideration of site requirements is key, to ensure installation does not conflict with other development and to ensure the longevity of the site - is the place in a useful location, is it well used and demand led by all groups in the city (taxi & private hire, trade)


The Committee also heard about common misconceptions associated with EVs:


Life cycle emissions and the carbon debt created during the production process for vehicles and batteries – this has been presented as significant, but as the scale of production increases and as manufacturers invest in renewable energy in manufacturing, the carbon debt has dropped and remains significantly lower than that of ICE vehicles once fuel production is factored in. There is a carbon debt associated with EV batteries, that isn’t resent in combustion engine vehicles, but this is more than offset over the whole life of the vehicle with significant air quality benefits and carbon reduction in using EV’s compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.


Range – Is a legitimate concern, but mid-range vehicles now provide 200+ miles on one charge with higher range vehicles achieving 300+ miles, so parity with ICE vehicles is being approached Additionally, there is misconception of how much mileage we actually drive – most domestic vehicles drive less than 10,000 miles a year, which equates to one charge per week, so EVs are feasible for most drivers.


Price – No new vehicle is cheap, including EV’s but the price disparity between EV and petrol vehicles is shrinking and second hand vehicles are now a similar price, with whole life cost of EV’s less than that of ICE due to lower running costs


Fire Risk – Concerns had been raised in the media about EV combustion and this had been researched particularly during consideration of the location of EV charging sites. The risk of EV combustion is significantly less (5x) than that of a petrol vehicle.


Charging behaviours – a 2023 survey of EV users showed broadly that EV users had EV chargers at home and did use public charging points – supporting the plans to roll out domestic charging and public charging points. The type of public charging was reviewed, with EV charging Hubs increasingly seen as popular which further supports the aim to implement a charging hub.


During discussions the following matters were considered:


The nature of EV battery fires – the Committee noted a comment that although EV batteries may be less likely than petrol vehicle fires, EV fires burned harder, hotter, longer and were difficult to extinguish. With that in mind, a query was raised whether the city had sufficient infrastructure and measures in place to deal with an underground EV fire, as the city had a number of apartment blocks and offices with underground parking and whether there was a role for the relevant Scrutiny Board to review the city’s preparedness for such an incident. In response the Committee heard this was a complex area, studies undertaken by the Australian Department of Defence found significantly less risk, but fire from an EV did have the potential to be greater. Notably, the Fire Service had also researched the risk and did include EVs in their fleet which showed confidence in their use. In terms of EV infrastructure, no underground charge points had been installed. It was suggested that fire at a charging point would indicate an issue with maintenance and upkeep – the possibility of fire will be reduced if the equipment is well maintained and provided/installed by a reputable supplier. The appropriateness of charging points had been considered by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) along with whether they should be included on project Risk Registers, where it was determined that this was not required. It was felt that EV ownership by the WY Fire Service suggested WYFRS confidence in dealing with any EV fire. Noting the offer to provide further detail on this issue, the Committee agreed that the matter would be considered at a future WG meeting and a representative of WYFRS be invited to attend.


Residential Charging Points – The Committee noted comments that many Leeds streets are narrow and some residents had created makeshift charging points with cables leading from homes, across pavements to kerbside EVs. It was noted that Government guidance was due to be published, in residential areas the challenge for Local Authorities was the risk to residents falling over cables, rather than the technicality of EV charging point installation. Therefore it was critical to identify suitable locations for charging points and hubs which are near to home, safe, secure and do not impact on the street walkway use. Members were encouraged to provide suggestions for potential charging point/hub sites within their wards to officers for consideration.



a)  That the contents of the report be noted as an update on progress made since the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy was approved in 2022.

b)  That the Committee re-enforce the need to support the transition of transport towards zero-emission as a key component of the councils Net Zero ambitions.



Supporting documents: