20 Oct 2022

Initial partnership with Oxford and M7 to allow 2 million EVs to be charged annually at retail sites

SSE Energy Solutions has kicked off plans for a major electric vehicle (EV) charging network across the UK by announcing a significant new partnership with global commercial real estate investor, asset manager and business builder, Oxford Properties (Oxford) and its pan-European portfolio company M7 Real Estate.

SSE plans to build 300 EV charging bays powered by traceable, renewable energy by 2027, with their first hub set to launch in September at Castlebank, Glasgow.  This will help meet increasing demand for a UK EV infrastructure upgrade following the UK Government’s commitment to ending the production of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines.

A recent report from the Climate Change Committee shows the rise of electric cars is outpacing Government growth projections, and that infrastructure deployment needs to accelerate to meet the target of 300,000 public charge points by 2030.

As part of SSE’s overall EV network strategy, this new deal aims to deliver new EV sites with up to 12 bays each at 20 of Oxford’s retail warehousing parks across the UK within 24 months, with the ability to recharge an estimated 2 million vehicles annually. The parks are asset managed and operated by M7 on behalf of Oxford.

Most bays will have ultra-rapid charging capabilities of up to 150 kW. These allow drivers to resume their journey within 20 to 40 minutes of plugging in – a significant time saving compared to the widely used 50kW charger, which takes around two hours to charge a 90kWh car battery.

Kevin Welstead, EV sector director at SSE Energy Solutions, said: “It is vital that we face the EV infrastructure challenge head on if we are to meet our ambitious decarbonisation targets.

“We must ensure that drivers are able to access EV charging points easily and conveniently. Retail locations provide a perfect solution; people can simply plug in their vehicle while they shop and return to a fully charged car thanks to our ultra-rapid facilities.

“M7 and Oxford share our social values and determination to beat climate change. Their forward-thinking partnership with us is exactly the kind of collaborative approach we need landowners across the UK to consider. M7 understands that the time to act is now, and we look forward to continuing our work with them.”

Josh Tyler, Asset Manager at M7, said: “With customers placing increasing importance on ensuring that the businesses and services they use share their sustainability goals, we understand it is critical that our retail parks are as green as possible.

“It is important to us and our occupiers that we are able to provide the customer with the best possible EV charging experience, working with SSE was an easy decision for us due to their commitment to renewables and proven track record on decarbonisation strategy.”

James Boadle, Senior Vice President, at Oxford, said: “We believe our assets have an important role to play in supporting the green infrastructure required to help our customers and communities make more sustainable choices. This new initiative between Oxford, M7 and SSE benefits our retailers and shoppers alike with a fast, convenient way to recharge their EVs while shopping. We are firmly committed to playing our part to address climate change and meeting our Net Zero goals as we continue to decarbonize our global portfolio.”

Oxford is ranked by Fast Company as one of the world’s most innovative companies for its approach to carbon reduction. It has reduced its carbon emissions by 37% from its 2015 benchmark, surpassing its own target of 30% by 2025.

Significant sites in the new partnership include the Bolton Gate Retail Park in Greater Manchester, which represents the first EV hub in the Bolton area and will have the capacity to recharge 100,000 EVs annually using guaranteed renewable energy.

SSE Energy Solutions is in talks with M7 to further expand the project, with the ambition to open a potential 50 sites around the country in total by 2025.