NEC Bham

The NEC is the biggest exhibition space in the UK

An electric charging hub, which it is claimed will be one of the largest in Europe, has been given planning approval at the NEC in the West Midlands.

The charging hub will contain Alpitronic ultra-fast 300KW DC chargers capable of charging 32 EVs at any one time. Maximising the locational benefits of the NEC Campus, the hub will be accessed via a new entrance just off junction 6 of the M42 and close to the M6 and Birmingham airport.

To meet increasing demand, an existing car park will accommodate the hub’s remaining 150 bays for 7KW charging, to be used by NEC Birmingham customers during their time at the venue.

Plans for the hub also include construction of an adjacent drive-thru coffee shop operated by a national chain to cater for visitors while they wait for their vehicles to charge. This will provide indoor seating and an additional 26 standard parking bays for other patrons.

The hub is scheduled to go live from autumn 2022, and will also open up the opportunity for the NEC Campus to electrify its operational vehicles.

The NEC Group has partnered with The EV Network, which will develop the project, and BP Pulse will be the charge point operator for the hub.

This project follows the agreement signed in 2021 between The EV Network, its investment partner Zood Infrastructure and BP Pulse, which aims to significantly expand the provision of convenient ultra-fast EV charging infrastructure across the country.

Reza Shaybani, co-founder and chief executive of The EV Network, said: “This is an exciting project with national importance which will significantly impact the EV charging landscape. The location and size of the charging hub within the UK’s transport infrastructure provides reassurance for drivers travelling between cities.

“The NEC Birmingham is the largest exhibition space in the country and welcomes several million visitors a year to its venues at the Campus. By introducing this provision, we believe this is an investment not only for visitors to the site, but also into the wider EV charging infrastructure for the UK. We are pleased to have partnered with the NEC Group and BP Pulse for this project.”

Paul Thandi, CEO of NEC Group, said: “As the UK’s leading live events business, we also want to be a leader in sustainable practices. Creating an EV charging hub of this scale is a step change for the UK’s green travel strategy. We know that many electric vehicle drivers suffer from range anxiety and that this is a barrier to others switching to greener modes of transport. Providing greater reliability and access to high quality charging bays at a key part of the UK road network, is a great move forward and one we are proud to support.”

Transport minister Trudy Harrison said: “Our Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy sets out our vision to boost on-street chargepoints across the nation, and it’s excellent to see NEC Birmingham joining the important transition to greener vehicles.

“We’ve supported the installation of over 30,000 public EV chargepoints up and down the UK, and it’s great that the UK’s largest events organisation is also accommodating for present and future EV drivers.”

Jonathan Maxwell, CEO of Sustainable Development Capital LLP, said: “We are delighted to be funding one of the largest EV charging hubs in Europe at the NEC Campus. The roll out of electric vehicles offers major benefits in terms of environmental protection and cleaner air in cities as well as climate change mitigation and the transition away from fossil fuels. The success of the roll out depends on the availability of charging infrastructure at scale and we are proud to be part of its development.”

Akira Kirton, CEO of BP Pulse UK, said: “Convenient and reliable ultra-fast charging solutions like this hub at the NEC are critical to the UK’s transition to electric vehicles and that’s game-changing for the adoption of lower carbon road transportation. BP Pulse is heavily investing in the UK’s EV charging infrastructure and is committed to providing a variety of charging solutions that meet the needs of customers across the UK. By working with The EV Network and NEC Group, we are making fast charging accessible in another prime location.”