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Wales powers up for EVs with new charging hub

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WALES’ first high-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging hub has opened at Moto Swansea, marking a step-change in the country’s EV charging infrastructure and supporting drivers to switch to EVs ahead of the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles.

The advanced Electric Hub, part of the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway, initially hosts six 350kW high-power EV charge points, with the ability to quickly add a further six high power chargers as soon as they are required. All chargers will be supplied with 100% net zero carbon energy from GRIDSERVE’s solar farms, accept contactless payment for maximum accessibility, and have the ability to deliver 100-miles of range in less than 10 minutes.

Located at junction 47 on the M4 at Moto Swansea, the Electric Hub supports the Welsh Government’s plans to slash emissions from transport, a sector responsible for 17% of the country’s overall emissions. The Government’s Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy for Wales commits to delivering 4,000 rapid chargers across the country over the next decade – of which just 3% are already installed.

Lack of public charging infrastructure is a known barrier to EV adoption and has historically led to regional disparities in EV registrations. Currently, Wales has one of the lowest numbers of EV charge points per head of population in the UK and Southwest Wales has just half the average proportion of EVs when compared to the rest of the UK.

GRIDSERVE is actively looking at further sites in Wales for the development of future Electric Hubs and award-winning Electric Forecourts® to help boost charging in the country and give people the confidence to make the switch to electric vehicles.

GRIDSERVE is delivering the biggest upgrade to motorway EV charging infrastructure with over 20 Electric Hubs – each consisting of 6-12 x 350kW ultra high-power chargers – due to open at motorway services across the UK by the end of Q2 2022, with large numbers of additional Electric Hub sites being lined up to follow.

Since GRIDSERVE’s acquisition of Ecotricity’s Electric Highway in June of last year, the company has already invested tens of millions of pounds in upgrading the network. In addition to opening the first Electric Hub at Moto Rugby, the company has replaced more than 300 historical Ecotricity DC rapid chargers and has installed 130 additional AC chargers, ensuring that the charging needs for all types of electric vehicles are catered for.

 In addition to the extensive upgrades taking place across the UK’s motorway network, GRIDSERVE is also progressing plans to deliver more than 100 Electric Forecourts across the UK, with sites at Gatwick Airport and Norwich already in construction, with many more sites in development.

Meanwhile, Shell Recharge Solutions, a leader in smart EV charging solutions and previously known as NewMotion, has achieved a major milestone within its public charging network in the UK by now having 10,000 charging connections accessible through its UK network.

Over the past year, the number of total public charge points in the UK has increased by 37% to over 29,000, meaning that the Shell Recharge roaming network now provides access to nearly a third of all public charge points. This increased interoperability is essential for open accessibility of charging infrastructure.

 Euan Moir, Sales Manager UK from Shell Recharge Solutions said: “Interoperability between the public charge points installed by different companies is key for the future of the EV industry and to enhance the customer experience. We have worked hard to get agreements in place with 21 roaming partners in the UK, who between them have 10,000 public charge points. EV drivers can now use all of these chargers with the Shell Recharge charge card and app. We are determined to overcome barriers to EV adoption by making it as easy as possible for drivers to charge up with one card or app.”

 EV demand in the UK is growing rapidly and it is expected that electric cars will outsell diesel and mild hybrid diesel by the end of 2022. The need to expand and build upon the charging infrastructure is apparent and Shell Recharge Solutions is committed to meeting this need.

With a significant number of EV drivers unable to install a charge-point at their home (40%), or access charging at the workplace (15%), easy access to public charging infrastructure is essential. But today, still nearly half (45%) of UK EV drivers have two or more charge cards to be able to charge on-the-go. Improving easy access of public charge points in the UK’s network via interoperability is essential for a positive charging experience and therefore for the uptake of e-mobility by a mass audience.

The public roaming network available via Shell Recharge recently added 526 charge points operated by GeniePoint and now offers access to1,500 rapid chargers. Across Europe, the network now offers access to almost 300,000 charge points. By creating a more connected charging network for drivers, drivers can more simply access a larger charging infrastructure and enjoy a better EV driving experience.

In addition, charge points installed and operated by ubitricity, a company acquired by Shell in 2021 counts over 4,500 on-street charge points. Shell aims to operate over 500,000 charge points globally by 2025, including Shell Recharge ultra-fast charge points on Shell forecourts.

EV charge point network InstaVolt said it is on track to become the largest owner-operated rapid charging network later this year.

The announcement comes during a period of rapid growth, with the charge point operator planning to energise its 700th charger in the coming weeks. In addition to this, the network has more than 200 chargers in construction, and a pipeline of new sites in development with its partner-landlords that include McDonald’s, Costa Coffee, EH Booths and KFC which will see charger numbers exceed 1,000 during the summer months.

The company continues to push forward with the development of a network that covers the whole of the UK and supports drivers in delivering easy-to-use, reliable rapid chargers at convenient locations. Not only is the network opening new sites to make chargers accessible to more EV drivers, but is also about to launch its first expansion project as it installs eight additional chargers at its popular hub on the M40 in Banbury. During 2022 the network will also launch its first rapid chargers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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