Banking on electric: NatWest Group to install 600 EV chargers at UK sites

Image: GeniePoint

The banking group confirmed late last week that it has signed a five-year deal to supply, commission and operate the network of EV chargers with Equans, an offshoot of major energy provider Engie.

The first chargers will be installed at NatWest Group’s Donegall Square East offices in Belfast in the coming weeks. From there, a total of 600 charging sockets will be rolled out by 2023.

Chargers will be open to use for NatWest Group’s visitors and customers as well as its staff. They will be connected to the GeniePoint network, which has a pay-as-you-go model that lets motorists pay online, via a smartphone app, or by using an RFID card. The charger model which has been selected is the Alfen Pro-Line 7.4kW dual charger.

NatWest Group is notably striving to reduce its direct emissions by 25% by 2025, against a 2019 baseline, as part of a plan to reduce and offset more emissions than its operations generate.

The business has committed to installing at least 600 EV chargers across its locations in the UK and Republic of Ireland by 2030, and to switching all company cars with electric models by 2025. The company car fleet totals some 300 vehicles. These commitments have been made under Natwest Group’s membership to the Climate Group’s EV100 initiative.

“This partnership demonstrates a clear and strong commitment from NatWest on where it stands on the net-zero transition,” Equans’ managing director for the Futures business in the UK and Ireland, Jerry Moloney, said.

“The only way we will convince a greater proportion of the population to consider EVs is by giving them greater options and better access to chargers.  This investment from NatWest does exactly that.”

Other UK businesses hosting Geniepoint chargers include hotelier Whitbread, which is adding 600 charging points within the next three years, with the option to add up to 400 more in the longer term.

Policy update

The news comes shortly after the UK Government announced how funding from its £91m Collaborative Research and Development competition from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) is being allocated. Projects developing long-range EVs for BMW and batteries that can charge in as little as 12 minutes were among the successful applicants.

The Government’s overarching ambition on EV charging is to ensure that drivers are never more than 30 miles away from a rapid charging point. However, Ministers have faced increasing pressure to improve the Government’s processes for working with local authorities to deliver charging infrastructure – particularly in light of the decision to move the ban on new petrol and diesel car sales forward to 2030.

Back in 2019, a study by The Guardian found that at least one-quarter of councils in England and Wales had no plans to increase the number of charging points in the next 12 months. Funding was cited as the main barrier. More recently, a 2021 study by Centrica found that local authorities across the UK will only host, on average, 35 on-street chargers by 2025.

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Sarah George

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