|Map of Electric Highway (Phase 1). Click to enlarge.|
Ecotricity has opened new charging points on the M4 and M42 highways in the UK as part of the first national charging network, linking Birmingham and Bristol to London. The Electric Highway now has charging points at Welcome Break services on the M25/M1, M40, M4 and M5.
Electric cars using rapid recharge points (32A supply) can “top-up” in just 20 minutes or fully charge in two hours; while those using the slower (13A supply) will be able to recharge fully if staying overnight at motorway service hotels. Every charging post will be powered by renewable electricity from Ecotricity’s 54 windmills and solar farms across the country.
Five motorway top-up zones have now been installed at Welcome Break motorway services, including:
- Hopwood Park services (M42 at junction 2)
- Membury services (M4 between London and Bristol – between J14 and J15)
- South Mimms services (M25 and M1 junction)
- Michaelwood services (M5 between Bristol and Birmingham)
- Oxford services (M40 between London and Birmingham – junction 8a at Oxford)
A sixth top-up zone is also located at the base of an Ecotricity windmill: Green Park windmill (M4 near Reading).
Twelve top-up-zones will soon be located at motorway services around the country to complete the first phase of the network. Each post will be located outside the main entrance of Welcome Break, with two sockets that can be accessed by registering for a free swipe-card. Within 18 months, all 27 Welcome Break motorway services across Britain will have charging points.|
There are more than 30 million cars on UK roads; about 2,000 of those are pure electric, along with a few hundred plug-in hybrids.
People have asked why we are building this Electric Highway when there are only about 2,000 electric cars on the road today. In fact that’s a big part of the reason—a lack of demand.
It’s often said that one of the reasons more people don’t buy electric cars is because of a lack of charging facilities—while the reason more charging facilities aren’t built is because not enough people are buying electric cars. Classic chicken and egg stuff. We’re hoping to break that impasse. We’re creating the infrastructure to get Britain’s electric car revolution moving.—Dale Vince OBE, founder of Ecotricity
There are around 400 charging points in cities around the UK, with a concentration of around 250 in London which belong to a number of networks. The Department for Transport predicts that by 2015 they “expect to see tens of thousands of plug-in vehicles on the roads in the UK”.