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Ecotricity launches the Electric Highway

By Julian Jackson - 27 Jul 2011 15:49:0 GMT
Ecotricity launches the Electric Highway

The biggest problem which faces electric car owners is the lack of recharging points. Now, for first time electric vehicles will be able to travel the length and breadth of Britain using the world's first national charging network at motorway service stations across the country.

Each charging station will be powered with 100% green energy created by leading UK green power company Ecotricity's wind and solar parks across the UK, and means that electric car drivers (and electric motorcycle riders) will be able to drive from London to Scotland completely free and with vastly reduced emissions.

This breakthrough in electric car infrastructure removes one of the main barriers for people wanting to buy electric cars - range anxiety - which currently restricts people to driving within their own city.

The first 'top-up zone' is open now at Welcome Break's South Mimms services just north of London, along with two other charging points, and the first phase of the network spread across 12 motorway services will be completed by September. Each post will be located outside the main entrance, with two sockets that can be accessed by registering for a free swipecard. Within 18 months all 27 Welcome Break motorway services will have charging points.

A recharging point outside a UK motorway service station

Electric cars can top-up in just 20 minutes using rapid recharge points (32 Amp supply) or fully charge in two hours; while those using the slower (13 Amp supply) will be able to recharge fully if staying overnight at motorway service hotels.

Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, said, "Until now, charging posts have all been in city centres like London, but this is where you need them the least. 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.

We're creating the infrastructure to get Britain's electric car revolution moving. This marks the beginning of the end for the old combustion engine. With world oil prices going through the roof, you'll now be able to get around Britain using only the power of the wind. It costs 1p (2 cents) a mile in an electric vehicle, compared with 10p (20 cents) in a petrol car (at today's oil prices).

We consume 25 million barrels of oil every year in the UK to do the 250 billion miles we drive every year. But we could power all that with 10,000 of today's windmills, or just 5,000 of tomorrow's."

Ecotricity swipe card in use at electric vehicle charging point

Rod McKie, CEO of Welcome Break, said, "We are very excited about working with Ecotricity.  There is no doubt that the electric car will arrive on Britain's motorways and Welcome Break wants to be at the forefront of giving the modern motorist what they want, when they want it.

As hybrid and electric cars become part of everyday life, Welcome Break will have the facility to fast-charge these cars, giving electric car drivers the opportunity to travel the length and breadth of the UK.

Welcome Break operate throughout the UK with locations as far afield as Scotland and down to the south-west and south-east of England, serving 80 million customers a year."

A driver doing a year's typical 12,000 miles of motoring could save almost 2000 pounds ($3,270) in petrol costs at today's prices, and save around 2500kg in CO2 emissions.

Electric car owners who want to register for a free swipe card can visit Ecotricity's website at www.ecotricity.co.uk/for-the-road.