Sovereign Centros has announced the installation of 32 twin-socket electric vehicle (EV) charging points at Merry Hill. EV charging specialist Zest has invested in the centre to deploy the charge points and provide long-term operation. With the ability to charge 64 cars simultaneously, this is one of the largest EV charging initiatives in the West Midlands.
Responding to consumer demand to address the current undersupply in the local area, Merry Hill’s EV chargers consist of two different types: fast and rapid. Selected to reflect the average customer dwell time at Merry Hill, visitors are able to charge while they shop, with the 22kW fast chargers adding 90 miles’ range in just one hour. A selection of rapid chargers have also been made available, which can fully charge most cars in less than an hour, providing customers with options to match the purpose of their visit to the centre.
According to research conducted by CACI earlier this year, 68% of consumers who intend to own an EV will visit retailers and businesses more frequently if they provide the right charging facilities. With EV sales up by 76% in the UK in 2021, and 42% of consumers indicating their next car will be an EV, the new chargers create a significant opportunity for Merry Hill to capture increased footfall and spend.
Graeme Jones, director at Sovereign Centros, commented: “Electric vehicles are the future, and we want to ensure we provide visitors with as much accessibility to sustainable travel options as possible. We know how important taking positive action against climate change is to customers, and we want to continue to align as much as we can with these values. The implementation of Merry Hill’s new charging points is the first in a series of sustainability-focused initiatives that put our commitment in action, and we are delighted Zest has invested in our destination and partnered with us on this crucial scheme.”
Robin Heap, CEO of Zest, added: “In the future, people won’t travel to charge, they’ll simply charge where they park as part of their normal routine. It sounds simple, but it requires a lot of reliable charging infrastructure to be effective. Merry Hill is one of the first retail centres in the UK to properly prepare for the EV revolution, building a foundation for future success.”
The new chargers are the first in a series of sustainability and consumer-driven investments for the destination and are set to be followed by a number of related projects that will help reduce operational energy costs for the centre and its tenants. The installation of the chargers coincides with the re-opening of Merry Hill’s main multi-storey car park following significant refurbishment, reflecting Sovereign Centros’ ongoing enhancement of the facilities at Merry Hill.