First of 50 ultra-rapid EV charging hubs by SSE and M7 ‘goes live’

The first of SSE’s ultra-rapid electric vehicle charging hubs being built in conjunction with M7 Real Estate has been opened.

The 10-bay hub at Gapton Hall Retail Park in Great Yarmouth features 150kW charge units which have the potential to allow drivers to resume their journey in just a few minutes, as well as a 22kW charger meaning users have a choice of how to charge when visiting the site.

The shopping park is situated in a highly accessible location at the roundabout junction of the A12 and A47 opposite Tesco Extra.

The Gapton Hall hub will represent the first of a potential 50 charging stations installed on sites managed by M7 Real Estate (M7), 20 of those for Oxford Properties following the announcement of a two year programme of EV infrastructure investment with SSE Energy Solutions.

A further five hubs will be constructed in the initial phase of the project on locations in Ipswich, Poole, Hayes, Colchester, and Chelmsford.

With 90% of emissions coming from the UK’s roads and motorways, projects like Gapton Hall are helping communities decarbonise, making vital progress towards government ambitions to begin phasing out petrol and diesel cars from 2030.

According to online EV charging monitor Zapmap, there were 45,737 electric vehicle charging points across the UK at the end of July 2023. This represents a 40% increase in the total number of charging devices since July 2022. However, concerns remain that charging infrastructure is not keeping pace with electric vehicle sales.

SSE plans to build 500 of its own ultra-rapid EV charging hubs powered by traceable, renewable energy in the UK and Ireland by 2030.

Kevin Welstead, EV sector director at SSE Energy Solutions, said:“I’m delighted Sir Brandon Lewis was here to open the first of the EV charging hubs we’re developing with M7. He is well aware of the importance of these hubs to his constituents and I welcome his support for our work.

“Gapton Hall is a great example of the sort of hubs that cater to the everyday EV driver, perfectly located to make charging your car straightforward and convenient.

“We’re pressing ahead with our ambitious EV charging infrastructure plans and I look forward to delivering hubs to people right across the UK, both in conjunction with M7 but also with the 500 hubs we plan to build ourselves over the next seven years.”

Sir Brandon Lewis CBE, MP for Great Yarmouth, who officially opened the site, said: “The demand for electric vehicles is growing exponentially and we must keep up with demand in our drive towards net zero. I’m delighted to see SSE Energy Solutions and M7 Real Estate investing in this infrastructure.”

“Norfolk County Council is successfully promoting EV use as part of its Travel Norfolk initiative and Electric Vehicle Strategy but people in Great Yarmouth haven’t had access to an ultra-rapid charging hub of this size before. I hope it encourages more people to make the switch to an EV.”

Josh Tyler, Asset Manager at M7, said: “With customers placing increasing importance on sustainability, we want our retail parks to support the adoption of electric vehicles.

“Providing customers with the best possible EV charging experience is an important part of our asset management strategy and partnering with SSE was an easy decision due to their commitment to renewables and proven track record in this space.”

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