CUSTOMERS will soon be able to charge their electric cars when they pop into their local Spar shop for milk, bread and a newspaper.
It comes as Henderson Retail confirmed a partnership with bp pulse, one of the UK's largest EV charging networks, to instal more than 200 ultra-fast and rapid chargers across 100 bp/Spar forecourts in the north.
Around 40 charge points are already available at 20 Spar/bp sites, with the full scheme expected to complete in 2025.
The agreement is part of Henderson Group’s ‘Tomorrow Matters’ sustainability strategy, and comes as demand for ultra-fast charging points in Northern Ireland is soaring.
Current figures from the Department for Transport show there are currently around 18,762 ultra-low emission vehicles registered in the north, an increase of 55% in the past two years alone.
“This steep trajectory of the volume of electric vehicles on the road is only going to continue, yet Northern Ireland has just 60 ultra-fast charge points in operation,” says Ron Whitten, chief financial officer at Henderson Group.
“With this roll-out, bp pulse aspires to create one of the region’s largest networks of ultra-fast and rapid EV charging, aiming to add up to 15,000 kW of charging capacity.
“bp pulse charge points are already live and charging EVs at 17 bp Spar sites across Northern Ireland as well as at another four Henderson Retail Spar sites. The full roll-out is planned to be finished by end 2025.”
Spar and EuroSpar are the largest operators of bp-branded forecourts in the north.
Each charger has two charge points – one ultra-fast (150kW) and one rapid (100kW) – delivering a combined power of up to 250kW.
Whitten adds: “Henderson Retail operates over 100 busy stores, 81 of which have fuel forecourts in Northern Ireland, used frequently by those on the go throughout the day.
“We are making considered, positive steps in line with consumer behaviour and working with bp pulse to install ultra-fast chargers at our sites which will give EV drivers the opportunity to charge at a location that is convenient to their journey.”
Akira Kirton, chief executive of bp pulse UK, which will invest £1 billion in EV charging infrastructure by 2030, said: “Fast, reliable charging in convenient locations is essential to give drivers the confidence to switch to electric vehicles.
“Working with Henderson Group, a retail network that dominates the market in Northern Ireland, we have the opportunity and aspiration to create one of the largest networks of ultra-fast and rapid charging points – meeting the rise in demand for now and in the future.”
Mark McCall co-founder of the Electric Vehicle Association NI, welcome the announcement and such a significant investment will it easier and more convenient to drive an electric vehicle.