M7 Real Estate to roll out rapid EV charging network across UK retail portfolio

Property management and investment giant M7 Real Estate has revealed plans to install a network of rapid electric vehicle (EV) chargers across its UK estate, in a move that is expected to prevent the 2.9 tonnes of nitrogen oxide (NOx) being emitted by 2033.

The pan-European firm will install 16 chargepoints at eight of its “out-of-town” retail warehouses by Christmas 2018, after partnering with London-based EV charging network company Engenie. It takes 30 minutes to fully charge a vehicle using the chargers, at a cost of £4. 

These warehouses typically contain shops, restaurants and cafes, with the pay-per-use EV chargers aimed at encouraging visitors to travel more sustainably for leisure purposes.

 “As the number of retail warehouse assets under our management continues to grow, so too has the demand from our customers for this technology,” M7’s head of UK real estate John Murnaghan said.

“This partnership presents a compelling opportunity to help future-proof our retail park portfolio as well as enhancing the performance of these assets and consumer choice on site.”

M7 estimates that the chargers, which will be powered by 100% renewable energy, will last for 15 years and deliver 120kWh per day.

The benefits of the partnership for Engenie, meanwhile, include helping the company to realise a new ambition of installing 1,500 chargers in the UK by 2021. The partnership is based on a profit share model for gross profit.

“Installing convenient, accessible and easy-to-use EV charging points across M7’s UK portfolio will put the customer at the heart of the EV transition,” Engenie’s business development director Patrick Sherriff said.

“At the same time, the 100% renewable energy powering the chargers and the positive impact on local air quality fits with both M7 and Engenie’s long-term commitments to improving our environmental impact.”

Infrastructure challenges

The announcement from M7 comes shortly after the publication of a PwC report revealing that the number of EVs in the UK rose by more than 50% between 2016-2017, with consumer demand for electrified transport outstripping the installation of charging infrastructure.

Similarly, the Department for Transport has identified a lack of charging infrastructure as one of the three biggest barriers to EV adoption in the UK, along with distance travelled per charge and vehicle cost. 

In a bid to overcome these infrastructure challenges, the likes of Shell, Total and BP have moved to fit their forecourts with EV rapid chargers, while EV charging company Chargemaster will install 4,000 chargepoints at UK hotels and B&Bs by the end of 2019.

Several companies have also begun to develop innovative charging technologies in order to lower the cost of EV charging and minimise the impact the EV revolution will have on the grid. EO, for example, this week unveiled a charger that can be controlled remotely and dynamically using cloud-based software, enabling charging to take place when energy is cheapest and in greatest supply.

Sarah George

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