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Birmingham and Bristol now linked to London for electric cars

Ukcharge
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”.

Comments

baldwincng

But thankfully hardly anyone is buying electric cars because they do nothing to reduce CO2 compared to using the £5,000 subsidy for something that does reduce CO2 - like insulating homes........in UK, EV's are not as low CO2 as a low emission diesel or petrol hybrid because all the extra electricity to charge them comes from gas and coal...

Scott

....and how many charging points will there be? Two probably. Not good if you've pulled off the motorway to find the bays occupied, other cars queuing and no option but to park up and wait. Oh and remember that at Motorway Service Areas you need to pay £10-£12 if you park for longer than 2 hours.

If you're lucky enough to get to a charging point (on the optimistic assumption that EVs become popular), places such as Welcome Break will charge a huge premium for this service. There is a pants-down rip off culture with motorway services in the UK. Fuel for instance is often a good 50c-$1 per gallon more, so expect electricity to be similarly priced at a premium.

I think I'll stick to my plan to by an efficient Diesel for my next car thank you!

HarveyD

dw.....you are correct if your home A/C and heating is from/with fossil fuels. Ours are 100% hydro electric. However, our unique e-energy supplier has been giving large subsidies (50+%) to improve walls, ceilings, doors, windows and up to 60% for efficient CFLs and ultra efficient (SEER 25+) heat pumps. Those programs really worked. Many homes have reduced their e-energy consumption by 50%. Our electricity supplier is public....no private firm would ever do that.

scott....my next vehicle will probably be a 60+ mpg Prius IV or a 50+ mpg Camry Hybrid. My wife's next vehicle may be an EV.

mahonj

"Every charging post will be powered by renewable electricity from Ecotricity’s 54 windmills and solar farms across the country."
How will the ensure that they only use renewable electricity -
will they run a special "renewable electricity" cable to the charge point ?
What if I want to charge when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining? Do they fill a reservoir ?
Sounds like typical "green energy supply" lies to me.

ai_vin

The longest trip you can take on the island of Great Britian is 874 miles, from Land's End to John o' Groats. They wont need a lot of recharge stations.

A D

These electric public recharging stations are inneficients, buggy, unrealistics. I give an efficiency of 1% compared to an hydrogen station that can fuel over 100 cars per day. This electric station could't recharge more then 1 or 2 car a day. They are paid by big oil and politicians to construct a mess with green energy and prove to the average consumer that the green dream is impossible, this is a constructed disaster from the start. I said that it take hydrogen infrastructure instead, is it clear now. It's easier to do hydrogen with windmills and solar panels then to recharge an electric only car(bov).

This website is just a petrol retail outlet maintained by madscientists that fear energy to the peoples and are paid exclusively by goverments manipulated by big oil obama and bush and also hitler and goering. You won't convince me a second that bov( battery only vehicle) are a good thing and a sincere try to compete petrol. Every decent folk that study bov for 1 minute can see that it's way inferior then hydrogen and also it's more inneficient then gasoline. At least with gasoline or hydrogen you can refuel in minutes, cannot say that with batteries. Batteries have long recharge time and few range, that's why it will never serve for bigger apparetus then cars used only to go to work once a day. hydrogen on the other hands can replace gasoline and diesel and is overall better then what it replace.

This website just spread confusion, economic depression, general madnest. This website show the problems and show that finnally there is no solution and that politic, goverments will try with huge taxation that it cannot change a single thing whatsoever, this is the works of madscientists.

Nick Lyons

@AD:

This website is just a petrol retail outlet maintained by madscientists that fear energy to the peoples and are paid exclusively by goverments manipulated by big oil obama and bush and also hitler and goering.

Say what??

ai_vin

Poe's law.

TM

People shouldn't charge at night anyway.
The grid will get stressed if you charge during the day.

Now all they need are electric cars...

DaveD

Where did all you whiney little B|TCHES come from today?

It won't be efficient, it won't be enough stations, it won't be clean, it won't do windows, it won't walk the dog, whine whine whine.

Wow, it's hard to even read all the drivel coming from such a bunch of whiney little twits, it makes me want to throw up.

HarveyD

It is a good start. Ddeniers-naysayers have a hard time to deal with it. Future improved EVs will be 5 to 6 times more efficient that our newest ICE vehicles and could be almost pollution free when recharged with clean e-power, specially from on-the-move wireless chargers. That's too much of a good change for many.

mahonj

Look at the numbers.

His 32A fast charger is rated at about 8 KW.
20 minutes @ 8 Kw is 2.6 KwA, or about 10 miles of driving (@ 4miles / KwH).
Not much of a top up.

A 2 hour refuelling is only 16 KwH or say 64 miles of driving which will take about 1 hour, so you spend 2 hours recharging for every hour spend driving (with these chargers).

A Nissan Leaf can recharge at 50 Kw, which is a bit more like it, but if you assume 80 miles between stops, you will have to stop every hour and a quarter to recharge.

A petrol pump can "charge" a car at 22 MW (40 L/Min @ 35 Mj / Litre / 60 seconds / minute).
This is 400 times faster than a Leaf fast charge and demonstrates that pure electric cars are really no good for long runs (at present).

EVs are very good for shorter runs, especially if you can get there and back on one charge, and then charge at home on low rate electricity.

For longer runs, you really want liquid fuels in some form, be it HEV, PHev or just a diesel.

mahonj

Further to my previous post (which I had trouble submitting).

There are many good people working in electric vehicles, but Dale Vince seems to be one with problems with reality.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/05/dale_vince_nemesis_fail/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/02/17/ecotricity_asa_slap/

[ I am excluding the Tesla as it is a very expensive 2 seater, the Leaf is a more useful car and more reasonably priced]

ChrisL

Yes, BEVs will not be good for longer trips for the next five years or so, and I don't understand why people are even talking about that limitation, much less building charging stations along highways. I drive less than 20 miles per day; BEVs are ideal for that sort of driving (up to 80 miles/day). I now resent getting in my ICE car in the morning to run errands and finding the tank near empty, and having to drive two miles opposite to where i want to go in order to buy gas. Usually the traffic is bad and it takes at least 10 minutes in each direction with the lights, and then another five minutes or so to fill up. So a half hour out of my day to buy gas. Not sure why people keep saying a few minutes to fill the tank (and not sure why they never mention the maintenance a complicated ICE requires). Two more years till I'm in a BEV, charged overnight and ready to go when I am.

People who need to travel long distances will drive something else; why do they criticize BEVs for not satisfying their needs? It's not as if someone if forcing them to buy one.

DaveD

Thanks ChrisL, You've nailed the main points. BEVs today are great for people who need them and can live with their range. Everyone else is free to drive whatever they want and nobody else is forcing them to buy anything.

And for you whiners, check out mahonj's post. He talks about the negatives, but it's a factual post with useful information. For me these negatives don't apply, but for most people today they do. Just understand them and the reality.

And in 5 years, the batteries will be better, cheaper and have a higher energy density. AND...there will be more infrastructure. These two factors will meet in the middle and more and more people will have the CHOICE of an EV. But nobody is forcing it on you anymore than an SUV or a Porsche 911. Choose the car you like and stop whining at everyone else.

Roger Pham

Sorry, but IMHO, this project is not practical. PHEV is a far more practical solution to the range issue associated with BEV's. BEV's should be used mainly in the cities.

Furthermore, in colder climates like Europe, waste heat from the ICE in the PHEV is essential to keep the occupants comfortable in the winter. Frequent use of the ICE (or fuel cells) in the winter is essential, since the waste heat is free, especially for the long-range driving like this project is aiming at.

ToppaTom

Dale Vince DOES seem to be one with problems with reality.
He says, as a reason for building this when there is no demand: "In fact that’s a big part of the reason—a lack of demand." Say what?

When/if there is a demand, private enterprise would quickly build all that's required, except that the gov’t might force outrageous costs for the franchise.

Thomas Lankester

@ToppaTom
Classic bit of selective quoting there. Let's put it in the context of what Dale goes on to say:
'Classic chicken and egg stuff. We’re hoping to break that impasse'

RE various poster's comments on speed of recharge/refuelling:
1) The Renault Fluence does support battery swapping
2) ICEs do not start their journey with a full tank unlike EVs which charge up overnight. It is a different fuelling model and pattern.

I don't see anyone going on about the time wasted filling up at petrol stations once a fortnight for normal driving. That 2.5 hours per year could cover a fair bit of top-up charging on the rare occasions (for a lot of drives) that the EV range is exceeded on a longer trip.

@majoni
The Reg is great for IT coverage but it a bit risky quoting them hen they stray outside their core competency. Reading those 2 articles, they clearly have Dale in the cross hairs.
So they say he 'speculating that a UFO might have been responsible for a spectacular failure in one of his wind turbines' without mentioning that this was clearly a joke complete with very tacky flying saucer photo montage with the turbine. I suppose 'Dale has sense of humour' is not sneery enough for The Reg.

On the figures 20 minutes = 10 miles may not sound significant but on a 120-130 mile journey (centre London-Birmingham), it could make all the difference with the current EV crop. Certainly, for my longest standard trip, visiting the old folks, a 30 minute top up (15 miles range each way) would be the difference between using an EV or not.

As for PHEVs, why would you not top up them up as it will boost your full trip fuel economy.

I tiny-tiny step forward won't 'save mankind' so why the vitriol express in some posts here as if ecotricity were pretending it would?

ToppaTom

TL
OK; Let's put it in the context of what Dale goes on to say :
"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. . . Classic chicken and egg stuff. We’re hoping to break that impasse"

The "lack of demand" is just as senseless, maybe more so.

"That 2.5 hours per year could cover a fair bit of top-up charging on the rare occasions (for a lot of drives) that the EV range is exceeded on a longer trip."

It would cover little bcause, because it is a "rare occasion that the EV range is exceeded on a longer trip"

Did you comprehend the words?

A D

@ Nick lyons: These electric public recharging stations are inneficients, buggy, unrealistics. I give an efficiency of 1% compared to an hydrogen station that can fuel over 100 cars per day. This electric station could't recharge more then 1 or 2 car a day. They are paid by big oil and politicians to construct a mess with green energy and prove to the average consumer that the green dream is impossible, this is a constructed disaster from the start. I said that it take hydrogen infrastructure instead, is it clear now. It's easier to do hydrogen with windmills and solar panels then to recharge an electric only car(bov).

This website is just a petrol retail outlet maintained by madscientists that fear energy to the peoples and are paid exclusively by goverments manipulated by big oil obama and bush and also hitler and goering. You won't convince me a second that bov( battery only vehicle) are a good thing and a sincere try to compete petrol. Every decent folk that study bov for 1 minute can see that it's way inferior then hydrogen and also it's more inneficient then gasoline. At least with gasoline or hydrogen you can refuel in minutes, cannot say that with batteries. Batteries have long recharge time and few range, that's why it will never serve for bigger apparetus then cars used only to go to work once a day. hydrogen on the other hands can replace gasoline and diesel and is overall better then what it replace.

This website just spread confusion, economic depression, general madnest. This website show the problems and show that finnally there is no solution and that politic, goverments will try with huge taxation that it cannot change a single thing whatsoever, this is the works of madscientists.

Is it clear now?

wintermane2000

The trueth is most bevs for 2-3 decades out will be sold to people who dont realy need a car anyway. It will simply drain mass transit riders not car drivers.

These little projects will all fail as they did before simply because there isnt enough money in charging evs to fund the system.

Instead as 2028-2025 come about highly advanced fossil fueled cars and fuel cell cars will consume this side of the market while bevs consume the short hop dont realy NEED a car side of the market. And a huge arse gap will exist between then filled with fossile fueled cars.. likely all the way to 2040-2060 timeframe.

Mannstein

@ A D

Hitler and Goering gave us the Autobahn and Fisher Tropsch coal to liquids fuel synthesis on a comercial scale so don't knock them.

Mannstein

This is a great opportunity for Motorway Service Hotel operators.

HarveyD

Future on-the-move wireless charging + much higher energy density batteries will solve the range issue. By 2030, properly equipped BEVs may have unlimited range on many equipped roads

ai_vin

England is only about 300 miles at its widest so if Harvey's wireless charging highway was right down the middle of it you could reach any place from any place else in a BEV with just a 160 mile range and a car like the LEAF could still cover 90% of the country.

OTOH most Brits don't do even that much driving.

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