When one is on a long car trip in the UK, and is ready for a cup of tea and a bun, one stops at a motorway service area. These are the equivalent of what US Interstate drivers call rest areas, except that they also have restaurants, convenience stores, gas stations – and now public EV chargers. Nissan and Ecotricity have partnered to install 50 kW DC fast chargers at three motorway service areas between London and Birmingham, allowing British EVers to charge their motorcars from empty to 80% full in half an hour. For free.
Nissan UK head Jim Wright 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 fast 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.”
Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said, “We believe this will prove to be a game-changing moment in making electric cars a practical choice for motorists – helping to reduce carbon emissions at a time when petrol prices are spiralling upwards. We are teaming up with Nissan to install fast chargers at motorway service stations, all powered with 100% renewable energy from Ecotricity. With charging times so vastly reduced, you’ll be able to drive an electric car from London to Birmingham and fill up the battery along the way, in a time not too dissimilar to filling up a petrol car.”
UK Transport Minister Norman Baker said, “Electric vehicles are spearheading a low carbon revolution in motoring and sales are gathering pace – the number of drivers benefiting from our Plug-In Car Grant this year is already well up on last year and we are barely out of September. 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 fast 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.”
Ecotricity rolled out the first phase of their “Electric Highway” about a year ago, with Standard (13 Amp) and Fast (32 Amp) charge points at 14 Welcome Break motorway service areas. The 13 Amp chargers, which have an 8-10 hour charge time, will be phased out over the next couple of months and replaced by 32 Amp chargers.
Ecotricity’s chargers will remain free “for the foreseeable future.”