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| News | Commercial Landowners

How Mer is Helping UK Retail Parks With Their EV Charging Infrastructure Needs

A look at two successful Mer retail park projects - and key learnings for commercial landowners.

mer retail parks

The ability to top up an electric vehicle’s charge at a retail park – while enjoying the site’s shops, restaurants, and services – is becoming a major draw for EV drivers. 

As well as being convenient – with drivers increasingly using public rapid charge points to boost their battery when out-and-about – destination chargers provide key benefits for the commercial landowners of the sites they are installed on.

 

Key Benefits:

Firstly, the addition of EV chargers helps to future-proof retail sites, giving landowners an early-adopter advantage on an upward trend. And then there is the fact that customers with EVs are attracted to sites that offer rapid charging – especially if drivers can top-up their vehicles quicker that they could at home. 

EV charge points also increase dwell time, with customers happy to spend longer at a destination – and spend more – if they can also charge there. 

Additional benefits include increased customer loyalty and environmental advantages.  Retailers with charging points in place have reported impressive reductions in CO2 from customer travel, allowing them to justifiably promote their sustainability credentials. 

 

Increasing EV demand

Electric vehicle sales are rocketing, with the market set to soar even further in the coming years. So now is the perfect time for landowners to get ahead of the EV infrastructure curve.

EV charging specialists Mer, backed by Statkraft – Europe’s largest renewable energy producer – are experts at working with commercial landowners to deliver all their EV charging infrastructure needs. 

Furthermore, landowners may also be entitled to profit sharing with us, depending on their chosen cost model. 

Here’s a look at two of Mer’s recent retail park projects, together with some key findings: 

 

Project One – Stane Retail Park, Essex

The Background – Stane Retail Park was fully completed in April 2022. The £70 million site – situated four miles from Colchester Town Centre – has 173,000 square feet of retail space and 687 car parking spaces.

mer retail parks

The Project – Mer installed a total of five EV charge points, with the charging bay locations chosen due to their prominent, and convenient, position within the car park. Each charge point has two separate bays, allowing two drivers to charge at once. 

The charge points consisted of:

  • Three ultra-rapid Chargers (CHAdeMO and CCS connectors), with a speed of up to 75kW
  • Two fast chargers (Universal type-2 connector) with a speed of up to 22kW

Providing charge points with different charging speeds gives drivers more options, depending on their needs. 

It will depend on a car battery size, but on average, a 75kW rapid charge can power an EV battery to 80% in about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, a 22kW fast charger typically produces an 80% charge in 3-4 hours. 

Today’s EVs can travel between 100 to 300 miles on a full charge. EVs charging slow down at the 80% mark to increase battery-longevity. 

 

Key Findings – Mer monitors user patterns and utilisation rates at all of its charging stations, providing insights that can benefit users and landowners. 

We found that 90% of kWh sold at Stane was from the (DC) ultra-rapid chargers, and 80% of total EV charging usage was also via these rapid bays. 

This shows the popularity of rapid and ultra-rapid charging at retail parks – with drivers choosing to ‘top-up’ while they are using shops and services. 

The EV charging infrastructure at Stane Retail Park has been so popular that the owner has now requested more charge points. 

 

Project Two – Sears Retail Park, Solihull

The Background – Sears Retail Park opened in June 2021 and boasts a wide range of shops. Located in Solihull, ten miles from Birmingham, the park has 920 car parking spaces. 

mer retail parks

The Project – Mer installed a total of four chargers, consisting of: 

  • Three fast chargers (Universal type-2 connector) with a speed of up to 22kW – and with each charger with two sockets, enabling simultaneous use by two drivers  
  • One ultra-rapid charger with a speed of up to 150kW, providing three sockets (one CHAdeMO and two CCS connectors – serving two drivers simultaneously)  

Typically, a 150kW charge point can charge an EV to more than 80% in less than 15 minutes. On average, a 22kW fast charger takes around 3-4 hours to produce the same charge. 

The location of the charge points was selected due to the proximity to the electricity network. Additionally, the selected bays were wider than standard, with no raised kerbs, making them disabled-user friendly. 

 

Key Findings – Mer found that 80% of total kWh sold was from the ultra-rapid charging station – and also 70% of transactions per charger.  

Again, this illustrates the higher popularity of rapid charging at retail parks. 

Mer is continuing to monitor user rates at Sears and will work with the retail park owner to add more chargers in line with customer demand. 

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