SSE supercharges Melksham’s ultra-rapid EV charging network

SSE Energy Solutions has opened a new publicly accessible 10-bay EV charging hub at its Spa Road depot in Melksham.

As well as being available for public use, the 5 Dual Head ultra-rapid 150kW chargers across 10 EV Charging bays, will service SSE’s local fleet of electric vehicles. The high-powered charging units have the potential to allow drivers to resume their journey in just a few minutes.

SSE plans to build 500 ultra-rapid EV charging hubs powered by traceable, renewable energy in the UK and Ireland by 2030 with several sites already open or under construction including those in Glasgow and Dundee.

As part of its Net Zero Acceleration Plan, SSE has pledged to transition over 2,500 of its vehicle fleet to electric and install work-based charging points for its 10,000 employees to use. Currently, over 70% of SSE’s total car fleet is fully electrified.

The number of electric vehicle chargers in the UK is growing apace, with more than 2,000 installed in March and April of this year [2023]. Despite this growth, many communities still lack reliable access to rapid charging facilities.

According to electric vehicle charging atlas ZapMap, there has previously been just one publicly accessible ultra-rapid EV charge point in Melksham to service the town’s 18,000 residents.

Jonathan Richardson, Electric Vehicle Construction Manager for SSE, said: “At SSE, we approach EV infrastructure with what we like to call ‘Whole Systems Thinking’. This means pursuing every avenue to expand the UK’s charging network – including partnerships with land and property developers, collaborations with local authorities, and, in instances like Melksham, providing publicly-accessible ultra-rapid charging on our own premises.

“These projects are all crucial to removing the barriers to EV adoption and a vital part of our strategy to deliver 500 EV charging hubs across the UK and Ireland by the end of the decade. Our latest project in Melksham will provide valuable learnings as we continue to roll out charging facilities across the UK that support our 10,000-strong workforce as well as local communities and businesses.”

Simon Gray, Head of Fleet for SSE, said: “We’re delighted that the UK and Welsh governments are recognising EV infrastructure as a priority in the path to Net Zero, pledging earlier this summer [June 2023] £7 million and £15 million respectively to boost the country’s more rural EV charging capabilities.

“SSE too is putting its money where its mouth is. As part of our Net Zero Acceleration Plan, we’re investing £10 million a day to unleash the low-carbon infrastructure that the UK needs for its net zero transition as part of our commitment to invest £12.5 billion in clean energy solutions by 2026.

“The installation of charging hubs based on our own sites where SSE Fleet vehicles operate will assist us greatly as we transition over 2,500 vehicles to zero emissions by 2030. With the added benefit of opening-up these charging facilities to the public where possible, we can provide even more support to local communities and fleets to help reduce harmful emissions from transport.”

Linda Roberts, Town Clerk and RFO for Melksham Town Council, said: “For EV drivers throughout the local Melksham community, the opening of these 10 chargers is a vital step. The presence of reliable, powerful charging here on their doorstep gives residents a stronger incentive to make the switch to EVs.”

“Public organisations at every level will have a role to play in developing the infrastructure to empower Net Zero ambitions. Melksham Town Council is proud to support the expansion of electrified transport for both corporate fleets like SSE’s at their premises on Spa Road, as well as for local drivers and commuters. SSE, by making these ultra-rapid chargers publicly accessible, have clearly signalled that they are not only committed to transforming their own assets but also finding opportunities to support decarbonisation for the wider community.”

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