The four new 7kW fast chargers in the city centre will be operational by April and will provide simultaneous charging for eight electric vehicles.

The new charging facility was approved by the Joint Transport Committee last year and has been made possible thanks to a £600,000 grant from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Local Growth Fund programme, a £270m local capital programme to deliver a range of growth measures to achieve the objectives set out in the North East Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).

Boosting EV charging facilities was also a key part of the North East Transport Plan which was adopted by the region in 2021.

The EV charging technology for this project is being supplied and installed by SWARCO Smart Charging, who are also the contractor responsible maintenance of the EV charge points.

Justin Meyer, managing director at SWARCO Smart Charging, said: ‘We are committed to supporting the success of the North East Transport Plan and the environmental mission to significantly reduce carbon emissions in the region.

‘We know that reliable and easy to use charging technology, positioned in convenient locations for drivers, is absolutely key to supporting EV drivers. So, this new city centre charging site in Sunderland, along with the ongoing expansion of the public charging network, will have a significant impact on the North East and will be instrumental in giving confidence to those who are in the process of considering an EV for their next car.’

Cllr Martin Gannon, chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: ‘Encouraging greater take-up of EVs and boosting infrastructure is a key part of our 15-year plan to significantly reduce carbon emissions in the region. We’re passionate about providing enhanced facilities in the North East to encourage greener, more sustainable options for motorists – which is why we’re thrilled to unveil this new EV charging point in Sunderland.’

In addition to the new EV charge points in Sunderland, additional EV charging sites will soon be delivered in each of the seven local authority areas in the North East.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, commented: ‘As we push towards our goal of becoming carbon neutral, we want to make it easier for motorists who already drive electric vehicles and those who want to make the switch to a more sustainable form of transport.

‘These new charging points at St Mary’s Car Park add to Sunderland’s rapid hub charging stations, the council’s own electric light commercial vehicles and the roll-out of more on-street charging points across the city.’