Swarco Smart Charging and Transport North East have gone live with the latest electric vehicle (EV) charging network targeted at the taxi and private hire market.
It consists of 10 rapid charging points across Newcastle, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Durham, Northumberland and Sunderland.
The network, funded as part of the Office of Zero Emission Vehicles Ultra Low Emissions Taxi Infrastructure Scheme, involved 10 new Swarco Smart Charging 50kW rapid charging points being installed for use by electric taxis and private hire vehicles operating in the North East.
They have been installed at two locations in Newcastle, two in North Tyneside, and one in South Tyneside (which has two stations). There is also one rapid charger each at sites in Durham, Gateshead, Northumberland and Sunderland.
The chargers, supplied with 100% renewable energy, have been located following extensive research into vehicle dwell times and the most popular pick-up locations.
Out of the 10 rapid charging points, eight have been in full operation since July 19th, so far serving 343 individual charging sessions that, according to Swarco, have saved a total of four tonnes of CO2. The remaining two sites are likely to come into operation later this year.
Swarco Smart Charging and Transport North East expect to see a significant uptake in vehicles utilising the system and has commenced a period of engagement with operators and drivers focused on demonstrating the suitability and benefits of electric vehicles for taxi and private hire use, as well as practical tips for getting the most out of their EV.
Justin Meyer, managing director at Swarco Smart Charging, said the installation would provide the North East’s taxi and private hire firms an opportunity for a greener future: “The new network will now give taxi and private hire firms across the North East the chance to electrify their fleets safe in the knowledge drivers will have access to charging points whenever they’re running.
“We’re happy to see the network now fully operational and we hope it will bring further confidence to other drivers across the city that converting to electric vehicles is possible now and not a distant dream. We will continue to work closely with Transport North East on the electrification of the North East.”
In tandem with the installation of the 10 new chargers, Transport North East will also be utilising Swarco’s E.Connect platform, allowing them to manage and monitor the charging points remotely, ensuring downtime is kept to a minimum and chargers are available 24/7.
Councillor Martin Gannon, chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “We know that taxis and private hire vehicles are used frequently used within the North East. Being able to provide these vehicles with reliable EV charging as an alternative to fossil fuels will allow us to significantly reduce the region’s carbon footprint.
“Thanks to the new network, we’ve laid the groundwork for further electrification of public transport systems. We’re excited to see more taxi and private hire businesses switch to electric and will work closely with them to utilise the new network as effectively as possible.”