The station, in West Wear Street, close to the Wearmouth Bridge, has four 50 kW fast chargers and two 175 kW fast chargers that are already enabled for 350 kW charging, the fastest charging rate in the country.
The chargers have been uniquely designed to accommodate all fully-electric vehicles, including Tesla models, and a typical fully-electric vehicle will be able to charge for 350 miles in just 20 minutes with the 350 kW charging capacity. The station, managed by Fastned, even has solar panels covering its canopy, allowing it to provide 100 per cent renewable electricity.
Charging will be initially be free, with payment with a charge card, debit or credit card, Apple Pay and Android Pay to be introduced later in the year. It will also be possible to charge with the Fastned App, making automatic charging available in the UK for the first time.
The development is part of the Go Ultra Low NE program, a Government campaign, owned and led by North East Joint Transport Committee and funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.
The North East is seen as a leader in the use of electric vehicles, with Nissan’s Sunderland plant producing the all-electric Leaf and a number of other companies in the region also leading the electric vehicle industry.
Coun Martin Gannon, chair of the Joint North East Transport Committee, said: “This is a tremendous asset for the North East.
“With another fast charging station under construction and five more smaller stations planned, we are making it easier for motorists who already drive electric vehicles and those who want to go green and make the switch to a more sustainable form of transport.”
Sunderland City Council leader Coun Graeme Miller added: “As host to the UK’s first purpose-built high-power fast charging station, Sunderland continues to lead the way in the electromobility industry.
“Along with other private and public charge-point developments currently underway, these rapid charging stations will help further establish the North East of England as a leader in electric mobility. “It’s also very good news for the electric drivers in this region. The stations can provide electric freedom and ease of travelling for local commuters, commercial fleets, and travellers passing through the region.”
Fastned co-founder and CEO Michiel Langezaal said: “We are pleased that we have built this first Fastned fast charging station in the United Kingdom in cooperation with NECA, and that local and regional electric drivers can now use this charging facility.
“Sunderland is a symbolic city for electric driving, since the factory where the Nissan Leaf is produced is located here. Nissan was one of the first EV manufacturers to launch with the Leaf; an affordable, mass-produced electric car.”