A new scheme devised by British green energy company Ecotricity could put an end to range anxiety for electric car owners by providing charge points at service stations along UK motorways.
The national charging network
, which is the first of its kind worldwide, will be free of charge to electric vehicle
(EV) drivers and will consist of 27 charging points at Welcome Break
service stations at its completion. Each charging post will be powered by 100 per cent green energy
’s wind and solar sources, the company said.
At the moment, there are 400 charging points in cities across the UK, with a whopping 250 of them located in London. In their endeavour, Ecotricity and Welcome Break hope to encourage EV use by allowing the vehicles to travel
beyond city borders.
"Until now, charging posts have all been in city centres like London, but this is where you need them least," Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, said. "Statistics show that it’s not in towns and cities where electric cars need to recharge, but on longer journeys between cities – and that means motorways."
The companies are currently planning to install charging posts in locations such as Somerset, Staffordshire, Hertfordshire and South Lanarkshire, to name a few. According to a release from Ecotricity, the first charging point will be installed in July at Welcome Break’s South Mimms station. The network is expected to have 12 charging points by September and reach its total number within 18 months.
Charging posts will be located outside of the main entrance of stations. Each will have two sockets, which can be used by registering for a free swipe card on Ecotricity’s website. Vehicles can gain a partial charge in 20 minutes or a full charge in two hours using the rapid recharge points in the network. Slower charging mechanisms will be available to users who are staying overnight in adjoining hotels.
In addition to its environmental benefits, Ecotricity stresses the potential savings that drivers could make by using EVs – a driver covering a typical year’s 12,000 miles could save almost £2,000 in petrol costs, as well as 2,500 kilogrammes in CO2 emissions.
"It costs 1p a mile in an electric vehicle, compared with 10p in a petrol car (at today’s oil prices)," Vince said. "With world oil prices going through the roof, you’ll now be able to get around Britain using only the power of the wind."
Currently, there are 2,000 pure electric vehicles in the UK, as well as a few hundred plug-in hybrids. However, with the launches of EV models by Nissan, Mitsubishi, Peugeot and Ford, this number is expected to grow – which will in turn require an increase in charging points such as Ecotricity’s.
"We’re creating the infrastructure to get Britain’s electric car revolution moving," Vince said. "This marks the beginning of the end for the old combustion engine."