The UK’s first publicly available high speed charger for electric cars has been unveiled at the Metrocentre in Gateshead.
Its the second time the shopping centre has taken a leading role in the EV revolution, installing its first charging point over two years ago.
Funded by a Governmental Plugged-in Places grant, and project managed by regional development agency, One North East, businesses in the North East have been asked to provide the spark for the programme of installing EV facilities by housing one of 12 new electric quick chargers, with the Metrocentre the first to complete an installation.
The 50KW stations can recharge electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV to up to 80 per cent of their capacity in just 20-30 minutes, compared to eight hours for a full charge using a 3kw charge point or four hours using a 7kw charge point.
The advanced charging points will be a major weapon for combating so-called ‘range anxiety’ in drivers using electric vehicles, and by locating them in strategic locations it is hoped that they will provide reassurance for drivers that journeys beyond a full battery charge are possible in and around the North East.
Dr Colin Herron, Manufacturing and Productivity Manager at One North East, said: “I would like to congratulate Metrocentre for its commitment to the low carbon agenda. Electric vehicles provide significant benefits including reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality, but require appropriate recharging infrastructure. One North East continues to work extremely hard to ensure that this infrastructure is in place and that the region is at the very forefront of this exciting new technology.”
Steve Beverley, Metrocentre’s Sustainable Travel Manager confirmed the centre’s support: “We are always keen to introduce new methods of enhancing customer experience at Metrocentre and the quick charger will not only provide a convenient new facility but will raise awareness of a greener method of transport.”
As part of plans to install over 1,000 charging points by 2013, Regional Development Agency One North East has procured 12 quick chargers and is on the lookout for more locations to follow Metrocentre’s lead. These locations should be easily accessible and ideally close to main roads and conurbations where they will be of most use to drivers wishing to recharge their vehicles. Any business or organisation located on or near the major trunk roads and spine roads in the North East are invited to put themselves forward.
Because of the potentially high up-front costs for these charge points, the Agency will finance their purchase, installation and a five year maintenance contract but partners will be expected to provide a parking space and fund electricity costs in the early stages of the project.
Anyone interested in hosting a fast-charger or accessing the match-funding for charging points should contact Anya Bramich in the One North East Charge your Car team on Tel: 0191 229 6834.
Faye has been writing about cars and environmental issues since 2007. A suspected eco-warrior working on the corporate inside, Faye mainly likes the weird, quirky vehicles that show a distinct environmental advantage. Her ideal car has enough room to fit a bale of hay in the boot. When not working, she likes nothing better than to head out on her bicycle and explore the countryside.
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