£381m boost for electric vehicle charging in West Midlands

A new electric vehicle charging hub – big enough to charge 180 cars simultaneously – has been opened by the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in Birmingham.

It marks a significant boost for Britain’s electric car charging network, becoming the largest electric vehicle charging site in the UK. The Gigahub™, located at the city’s NEC Campus, is the largest-ever private investment in a UK electric vehicle project to date.

The project has been developed by a three-way collaboration between the NEC, EV Network and bp pulse, and is now operated by bp pulse. It is funded by a record £8 million from its investment partner, Zood Infrastructure Limited. The site will provide 30 super-fast, 300kw DC charging bays and a further 150, 7KW a/c charging bays - one of the largest amounts of super-fast chargers in one location in the UK.

The site is strategically positioned to become a major transport hub for the future – located in the heart of the UK motorway network, including the M42, M46 and A45 and the new HS2 interchange station. 

The site supports the Government’s electric vehicle infrastructure strategy and commitment to decarbonising transport, backed with more than £2 billion to support the transition to zero emission vehicles including accelerating the rollout of chargepoint infrastructure. As part of that, Government and industry have so far supported the installation of over 45,500 publicly available electric vehicle charging devices, including more than 8,600 rapid devices.

The public charging network is growing quickly - public charging devices have more than tripled in four years from 10,300 devices in January 2019 to over 45,500 in August 2023.

The number of public chargepoints rose by 38% over the last year, and as a recent report from the National Infrastructure Commission points out, if charge point deployment grows at around 30% per year the 300,000 expectation will be met.

Today the Chancellor has also announced that several local authorities across England can apply for the first round of the Government’s £343 million Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Capital Fund, with the West Midlands Combined Authority among the authorities eligible to apply this year.

The LEVI fund will ensure the transition to electric vehicles takes place in every part of the country by supporting tens of thousands of local chargepoints, especially for those without access to off-street parking.

Local authorities will receive LEVI funding in two groups, with the first able to apply for their allocated funding from today, to be distributed this financial year. The second group can apply for their funding next financial year. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, 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 rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the country”.

Decarbonisation Minister Jesse Norman added: “Electric vehicles will play a crucial role in helping the UK to decarbonise transport and reach net zero.

“Today’s measures will deliver tens of thousands of chargepoints across the country, boosting the economy and creating skilled jobs.”

Alongside this, UK Research and Innovation has announced that Innovate UK has awarded £5.8m of funding to 12 projects through the Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge Fund.

Winning projects include work on best practice in automation and robotics to produce EV chargers, and the scale-up of the assembly manufacturing processes for a rare earth-free permanent magnet generator – allowing us to produce electric machines without using rare earth elements.

Whilst he was in the region, the Chancellor also convened a roundtable with green industries SMEs based in and around the West-Midlands, including leading green electric vehicle, energy and manufacturing companies as part of his ongoing engagement with his five key growth sectors: life sciences, advanced manufacturing, green industries, digital and technology and creative industries.


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