All content on this case study was created prior to the acquisition of EB Charging by Blink Charging.
Leeds City Council (LCC) is committed to reducing emissions to protect the health of everyone in the city and surrounding areas. Improving the city’s air quality is expected to help save lives, boost productivity, cut carbon emissions, and help level up the most disadvantaged communities. The Council plans to tackle air pollution from transport, home, industry, and agriculture. They will work with the health and care sector and guide businesses allowing them to understand industrial and agricultural sources of emissions so that they can be reduced through engagement, regulation, and enforcement.
Following the success LCC had electrifying their van fleets, the Council wanted to do more and looked at decarbonising and electrifying the city’s refuse vehicles. The Newmarket Approach presented the ideal opportunity to start this transition. The client-funded project was undertaken as part of their 2025 & 2030 vision not to purchase any new diesel or petrol vehicles
Leeds City Council commissioned the building of the £7.8 m facility to be a hub for over 130 operational and staff vehicles. They planned for the facility to start the transition, allowing them to redesign routes to make them more efficient and reduce costs and their carbon footprint. Once plans had been confirmed, LCC contracted Kier Construction to build the facility.
The Newmarket Approach site was designed with the assumption that the entire site (Building & Fleet) would need more than a megawatt of power, and the question of how they would get access to this power quickly surfaced. The site required a full assessment to determine the different charging demands of individual vehicles and the entire fleet. The challenge faced by the Council was to ensure sufficient charge was provided to the RVCs so they could complete their required routes.
The Blink project team provided the Council with the datasheets to accurately calculate power requirements. They then dealt directly with the National Power Grid (NPG) to ensure they could obtain the necessary wattage.
Blink Charging’s assessment identified that the refuse vehicles finished their routes by 2 pm, leaving the fleet idle until 5 am the following morning. This discovery meant that the power requirements were less than first thought, and the project could utilise 22kW fast chargers to deliver the necessary charge. Blink installed all the charge points, working with contractors Athertons for the civil engineering and cabling throughout the site. Blink is responsible for post-completion operation and maintenance providing general annual maintenance and reactive maintenance, through our three-tier maintenance system.
Blink installed a total of 46 chargers, 40 are depot chargers spread across the site for the Council’s fleet and refuse vehicles, with the remainder allocated for staff and visitor parking.
Leeds City Council planned the Newmarket Approach site with numerous future charging requirements in mind to ensure enough charging units were available for both operational vehicles and staff as the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) increases. This was done because Leeds City Council wishes to promote and encourage other methods of travelling to work, such as EVs, Park & Ride, or other zero-carbon methods like cycling and walking.
Senior Technical Manager at Newmarket Approach, Darren Dobson said.
“From the outset, Blink Charging understood our needs for the Newmarket Approach site and the council’s overall vision. Even when faced with challenges and setbacks, Blink supported us and provided solutions when needed to hit our targets. I would recommend and use them again for future projects.”
Contracting standards organisation NEC reported that the Newmarket Approach site has allowed Leeds City Council to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 128 t/year, a direct result of redesigning the refuse routes to become more efficient. There is also the potential that the solar panels on the top of the building enable the Council to export surplus energy back to the grid. The facility has also been designed to attract wildlife and has a living wall on the exterior. Many more attributes have been added to ensure the site is sustainable, and all parking bays have access to subterranean ducts to accommodate future charging requirements.
The results of this project are part of the council’s strategy of continuously expanding its clean air vision, and they plan on doing this by working towards two key targets. First, Leeds City Council will no longer buy diesel or petrol vehicles, and the entire fleet will be electric by 2025, and second, the fleet supports the city’s target to be carbon neutral by 2030. The decision has been made that completely removing all Diesel vehicles from the Newmarket site is not feasible due to the limited range of the eRCVs. However, as the site is future-proofed, Leeds City Council can adapt to advances in vehicle range as and when still in line with their goal to be free of ICE by 2030.