The development of the UK’s first electric highway got a boost after Nissan installed three new electric rapid-chargers along the route between London and Birmingham.
That means that drivers of electric cars can recharge their cars up to 80 per cent of battery capacity in just 30 minutes-ideal for those making a quick service stop during a long motorway journey.
The points, located in designated parking bays at Welcome Break motorway services in South Mimms (M25/A1), Oxford (M40) and Hopwood Park (M42) as part of Ecotricity’s Electric Highway, give motorists the chance to grab a bite to eat or take a loo break, while their EVs recharge for free.
Jim Wright, Managing Director of Nissan Motor (GB) said: “Many drivers would love to experience the convenience and cost saving benefits of a 100% electric vehicle such as the Nissan LEAF. But some still worry about the occasional journey which may be beyond the 109 mile range. By introducing rapid charging infrastructure at strategic motorway service stations, Nissan and Ecotricity are removing that worry and making EVs practical to a whole new selection of buyers.”
The 50KW DC rapid-charge points join Ecotricity’s existing “Electric Highway” with Standard (13 Amp) and Fast (32 Amp) charge points already installed at 14 Welcome Break motorway services – connecting London to Bristol and Exeter, and north to Birmingham, Manchester and the Lake District.
The Standard (13 Amp) chargers that take between 8-10 hours to fill up are being phased out completely over the next couple of months and replaced by updated Fast (32 Amp) chargers, to provide motorists with more convenient charging facilities.
Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “I welcome this ground-breaking project which will be a huge boon to drivers of electric cars.
“With more electric vehicles on the road, it is clearly important that there are facilities to recharge them – this plan could deliver a sea change in the sector. A national network of rapid chargers powered by the sun and wind where drivers know they can top up their car in the time it takes to drink a coffee will make them confident that they can get from A to B – no matter what the distance between the two.”
Electric car owners can register for a free swipe card to use the charging points Ecotricity’s website at www.ecotricity.co.uk/for-the-road. The clean energy firm, which generates and supplies electricity from sources including wind and solar, confirms that it has no plans to charge motorists to use its recharging network for the foreseeable future.
Faye has been writing about cars and environmental issues since 2007. A suspected eco-warrior working on the corporate inside, Faye mainly likes the weird, quirky vehicles that show a distinct environmental advantage. Her ideal car has enough room to fit a bale of hay in the boot. When not working, she likes nothing better than to head out on her bicycle and explore the countryside.
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