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Pictured: Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council and Michael Mathieson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

The largest electric vehicle (EV) charging station in Scotland has been officially opened this week in the heart of one of the country’s most important economic areas.

The £1.4m facility at the Falkirk Stadium, which has capacity for 26 electric vehicles - 30% more than the second largest EV station in Scotland - was officially opened by Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity. 

The new EV station will generate over 30% of the required electricity to power the facility from its own solar canopy made up by 1272 panels covering an area of over 2,000sqm, saving 75 tonnes of carbon per year.  It also brings the number of EV charging bays in the Falkirk and Grangemouth area to 68, an increase of almost 70%. 

Location, location, location

Located just three minutes from J6 on the M9 motorway the new EV station will be a key charging destination for local electric vehicles users as well as those travelling on the busy motorway route across Scotland and visitors to the neighbouring world-famous Kelpies and Helix Park.  The new EV hub is only 22 minutes from Edinburgh Airport; 20 minutes from Stirling Castle; 36 minutes from Glasgow and just 13 minutes from The Falkirk Wheel.

The Falkirk and Grangemouth area is already home to some of Scotland’s most important economic sectors - chemicals, petrochemicals, logistics and tourism - 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).

Investing in a green future

Funding for the new project has come from Falkirk Council and the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund through Transport Scotland’s Low Carbon Travel and Transport Challenge Fund.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael 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% in visitor numbers since 2009 and a 20% 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.”

Super charged facts

Key Falkirk Stadium EV station facts:

  • The self-service facility is open 365 days a year for 24 hours per day
  • 10 rapid (50kW) charging bays
  • 16 fast (22kW) charging bays
  • 3 designated bays for disabled users
  • Each bay is 2.4m wide with additional 1.2m of adjacent pedestrian movement
  • Payment is made through a standard ChargePlace Scotland account
  • 1,272 TrinaSolar panels generating an estimated 300,644kWh annually
  • Bluetop solar canopy covers 2,082sqm – equivalent to almost a third of a football pitch
  • Energy generated will be stored in 3 storage systems capable of holding up to 201kWh of energy and delivering up to 183kW of power

One tonne of CO2 is equivalent to:

  • A single person return flight to Lanzarote from Edinburgh
  • 15 low energy lightbulbs left on 24 hours a day for a year
  • A 36-inch plasma TV left on 24 hours a day for a whole year
  • A one litre kettle boiled 58 times a day for a year

The main contractors on the EV Hub were FES Group, a national building and facilities management services company headquartered in Stirling. WSP UK were the project’s engineering consultants.

Cutting the ribbon

Pictured: Mr Matheson and Cllr Meiklejohn, Falkirk Council Leader, cut the ribbon at the new EV charging station. They are joined by (left to right): Douglas Duff, Falkirk Council’s Head of Planning & Economic Development; Julia Gilles, Director of Transport Planning at WSP UK Ltd; Ian Mailer, Divisional Manager at FES Support Service; and Cllr Paul Garner, Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for the Environment.