Charge point company touts electric hub as part of an ongoing push to tackle ‘charging disparity’ across the UK

The first high-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging hub in Wales has officially opened at a motorway service station near Swansea, where drivers are now able to power up their battery cars with renewable electricity within only minutes, according to charging company Gridserve.

Situated on a junction of the M4 motorway, the new charging hub has been hailed as the “biggest upgrade to motorway EV charging infrastrucutre in UK history” and a “step change in the deployment of EV infrastructure in Wales” by the firm.

The Moto Swansea service station now boasts six 350kW ultra high-powered chargers, each capable of adding 100 miles of range to an electric car in less than 10 minutes of charging time, using clean power sourced from Gridserve’s solar farms, the company said.

Gridserve said it was now “actively looking” at further sites in Wales that could be transformed into electric hubs and electric forecourts, arguing that greater accessibility to public charging would boost low levels of adoption of EVs in the surrounding area.

Wales currently has among the lowest number of charge points per capita in the UK, with South Wales alone amounting to just half the average proportion of EVs compared to the rest of the UK.

Toddington Harper, CEO of Gridserve, said “all parts of the UK should be able to embrace the EV revolution”.

“We cannot let a lack of infrastructure prevent drivers from realising the myriad of benefits that come with driving an electric vehicle,” he said. “This project will help deliver the confidence for more people to make the switch to EVs, as well as support the growing number of people who already have.”

Gridserve said it planned to launch more than 20 electric hubs – which consist of between six and 12 350kW ultra high-power chargers – at motorway services before June 2022. It is also progressing plans to deliver more than 100 electric forecourts across the UK, with sites at Gatwick Airport and Norwich already under construction.

The company opened the UK’s first electric forecourt in Braintree, Essex in December 2020, which is capable of charging 36 cars at the same time.

“Thanks to partners like Moto, we are rapidly upgrading Britain’s motorway charging network and are prioritising areas of the UK that currently lack adequate charging infrastructure, by deploying more high-power electric hubs and electric forecourts,” said Harper.

Mike Hedges, Member of the Welsh Parliament for Swansea East, said charging infrastrucutre would be key to encouraging more drivers to embrace electric vehicles. “By 2025, Swansea is predicted to have one of the highest demands for EV charging in Wales as the uptake of electric vehicles continues to accelerate,” he said. “Ensuring that we have the infrastructure in place now is fundamental to enabling more drivers to make this transition sooner. Gridserve’s high power Electric Hub in Swansea is a step-change for rapid charging infrastructure in Wales and will support local drivers and visitors with the charging solutions they need.”

The news comes just a day after auto industry body SMMT called on the government to establish binding targets for chargepoint infrastructure, which it said could help crack down on regional disparities across the UK.

Ken McMeikan, CEO of Moto, said the company was “absolutely passionate” about offering reliable, simple and fast charging services that would transform EV drivers’ experience on the UK’s motorways.

“We are accelerating our ambition to open ultra rapid charging at all of our motorway service areas over the coming 12 months and are delighted with the progress that our partnership with Gridserve is making,” he said. “We launched our first EV Hub with 24 ultra rapid chargers at Moto Rugby last year and EV drivers have loved it, we are super confident we’ll see the same level of success here at Moto Swansea.”

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