The largest electric vehicle charging station in Scotland has been officially opened at the Falkirk Stadium.
Local MSP and Scotland’s secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, Michael Matheson did the honours today (Monday) to officially open the £1.4 million facility, which has capacity for 26 electric vehicles.
The station, which is in a prime location between Edinburgh and Glasgow and not far from the M9 motorway, brings the number of EV charging bays in Falkirk district to 68 – an increase of almost 70 per cent.
The new EV station will generate over 30 per cent of the required electricity to power the facility from its own solar canopy made up of 1272 panels covering an area of over 2000 square metres, saving 75 tonnes of carbon per year.
The area is already home to some of Scotland’s most important economic sectors and is a major contributor to the Scottish economy through the INEOS oil refinery and petrochemical plant, the largest container port in the country at Grangemouth and two of the most talked about tourist destinations in recent years – The Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel.
Funding for the project has come from Falkirk Council, the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund through Transport Scotland’s Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge Fund.
Mr Matheson said: “By delivering the largest electric vehicle charging hub in Scotland, Falkirk Council have demonstrated their commitment to Scotland’s net-zero vision.
“I’m pleased we’ve been able to support their leadership through our Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge Fund which has helped finance this impressive charging hub here at Falkirk Stadium through the European Regional Development Fund.
“This hub entirely supports the Scottish Government’s bold ambition to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2032.
“These 26 charging bays, including fast and rapid chargers, are welcome additions to our public electric vehicle charging network – ChargePlace Scotland.
“I know that this facility is already greatly appreciated by people visiting and living in Falkirk who have made the switch to electric vehicles and are already experiencing the many benefits that they bring.
“The Low Carbon Vehicle Hub here in Falkirk marks the beginning of the Electric A9 which we continue to develop.
“The EA9 expands and builds further resilience into our existing ChargePlace Scotland infrastructure.
“From this site all the way to Scrabster, visitors and local communities will be able to benefit from charging hubs across the longest road in Scotland – as we continue to build range confidence in electric vehicles, which help improve air quality and protect our climate.”
Councillor Paul Garner, Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for the environment said: “The Falkirk and Grangemouth area is committed to a move towards a Net Zero carbon future and this major investment by Falkirk Council and Transport Scotland to create Scotland’s largest EV station demonstrates not only the local area’s determination to drive down carbon emissions but also reflects positively on Scotland’s national commitment.
“Forward thinking approaches like our Innovative Industry strategy, which is helping the area move towards a low carbon economy by addressing future challenges, will play a key role in the area’s economic recovery through sustainable initiatives that benefit the whole community and reinforce the fact that being based in the Falkirk and Grangemouth area is positive for business both now and in the future.
“As well as being at the heart of the chemicals, petrochemicals and logistics sectors in Scotland, the Falkirk and Grangemouth area is Scotland’s fastest growing tourism area.
“We have seen an increase of over 50 per cent in visitor numbers since 2009 and a 20 per cent increase in employment and whilst we recognise the challenges we face as a result of the coronavirus pandemic we strongly believe that as we continue to progress to a low carbon destination we are in a strong position to benefit from a return to growth in the sector.”
The main contractors on the EV Hub were FES Group, while WSP UK were the project’s engineering consultants.
The self-service facility is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year There are ten rapid (50kW) charging bays There are 16 fast (22kW) charging bays Three designated bays for disabled users Payment is made through a ChargePlace Scotland account 1272 TrinaSolar panels generating an estimated 300,644kWh annually The Bluetop solar canopy covers 2,082sqm – equivalent to almost a third of a football pitch