Meridiam, with the support of its subsidiary Allego - a leading operator in the electric vehicle charging business in Europe - has become the financial sponsor of the world's first electric vehicle project finance. The project, known as Mega-E, will implement high-power charging points for electric vehicles in towns and cities in several European countries.
This plan,part of the commitment made by the European Union to achieve a 55% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, will reduce the high rate of emissions currently caused by road transport by promoting sustainable mobility.
With the initial launch of the European Mega-E network, 322 ultra-fast chargers and 39 multi-modal charging hubs are expected to be installed by 2025 in Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The project received €29 million in financing in April 2018 from European Union funds under the TEN-T/CEF programme.
Arup was commissioned to provide commercial, technical and ESG support to the project lenders, and has advised the company on raising debt to finance Mega-E's expansion across Europe.
Mega-E in France
Much of the planning for this project is concentrated in France, where a network of ultra-fast charging points for electric vehicles will be maintained in Carrefour shopping centres throughout the country. This network, set to develop some 200 charging stations with more than 2,000 connection points in total, will be powered entirely by green energy and will be operational by 2023.
The project has required a total investment of approximately €138 million. With customer needs at its heart, the network will afford users different services such as a free comfort charging system offered, a fast and ultra-fast charging service from 75 kW to 300 kW so that electric vehicles can be recharged within 15 to 45 minutes and another free service for light electric vehicles, such as electric bicycles, scooters and electric mopeds.
Multi-disciplinary advisory for electromobility
Throughout the development of the Mega-E network, and after reviewing the project, Arup has worked on the environmental, social and governance analysis, as well as providing advice on the assessment of planning periods, including timelines necessary for obtaining connection periods and necessary licences.
In addition, Arup has advised on the design and some technical specifications of the project, such as engineering, procurement and construction, including EPC capex review.
Arup has also been involved in the review and assessment of the operation and maintenance of the system, including the review of operating expenses, as well as the life cycle and decommissioning of the chargers. Other ongoing services include the audit of the demand forecasting model and the payment and revenue mechanism.