EV Charging Illustration

UK’s largest electric vehicle charging hub opens in Birmingham

Image credit: Istock

The UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging hub has opened on the NEC campus near Birmingham, allowing around 180 vehicles to charge simultaneously.

The Gigahub is designed to help serve the 7 million visitors that come to the NEC campus annually, along with other road users that make up the area’s average yearly traffic count of 60 million.

It includes ultra-fast 16x 300KW DC chargers that are capable of charging 30 EVs simultaneously and a further 150 points for 7KW charging.

BP Pulse, the EV charging arm of the oil and gas extractor, will be operating the hub. It can be accessed via the main NEC Campus by road, less than 1 mile from Junction 6 on the M42.

Given the sluggish pace at which EV chargers have been rolling out across the UK, the government is expected to miss its target of having six or more rapid or ultra-rapid electric vehicle chargers at every motorway service area in England by the end of 2023.

There are currently fewer than 43,000 public charge points in the whole of the UK. A study from 2021 found that the installation of chargers needs to increase by five times the current rate if the plan to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 is to be achieved.

Speaking at the opening of the Gigahub, Jeremy Hunt, chancellor of the exchequer, said: “This is the biggest private investment in electric charging in the UK and is a huge vote of confidence in Britain’s role as a leader in green industries.

“The ground-breaking site will be a major transport hub for the future and marks a significant step in our roll-out of EV charging infrastructure across the country”.

In April, Auto Trader warned that the UK is in danger of “veering off-track” from the target of banning petrol cars by 2030, as the demand for new EVs slumps due to the stubbornly high cost of the vehicles. Other factors such as high interest rates and an increase in the cost of electricity also played a role, the body said.

Akira Kirton, vice president of BP Pulse UK, said: “The transition to EVs is evolving at pace, which is why BP Pulse is focused on accelerating the development of the UK’s EV infrastructure, delivering the right charging speeds in the right locations and investing up to £1bn to do so.

“We plan to roll out hundreds of hubs this decade in places EV drivers need them – urban areas, on trunk roads and motorways and at destinations such as restaurants, retail parks and hotels.”

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