• Jul 29th 2011 at 4:51PM
  • 21
For first time-ever, electric vehicles will soon be able to travel the length of the UK using a network of free, solar-powered "top-up" charging stations located near motorways. According to Ecotricity, the company that installed the network, range anxiety has now been removed from the electric vehicle equation in the UK.
Every charging post will be powered with energy made at Ecotricity's wind and solar parks scattered across the UK. The first "top-up zone" will be installed at Welcome Break's South Mimms service station by the end of July, and phase one of installing a network of 12 chargers will be complete by September. Within 18 months, all 27 Welcome Break motorway service stations in the UK will have at least one charging station.

Each post has two sockets that can be accessed with the swipe of a free pass card. Electric vehicles will be able to "top-up" in just 20 minutes using the rapid recharge (32 amps) points or fully charge in as little as two hours; while those using the less powerful sockets (13 amps) will be able to recharge overnight.

Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, says that:
Until now, charging posts have all been in city centers 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.
Vince continues on, saying that Ecotricity is creating the infrastructure that will get the UK's "electric car revolution moving" and claims that the installation of the "top-up zones" mark the "beginning of the end for the old combustion engine." Hat tip to Andy!

[Source: Ecotricity, Daily Mail]


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  • 21 Comments
      dorotheo
      • 8 Months Ago
      These is a great company and I believe on ecology and live on a clean world. Here I have a video to check on http://www.youtube.com/user/ecotricity?ob=0&feature=results_main. Also, lets try to think about it and use more natural energy, we will save a lot of money like I save money by sending a free text at http://www.textme4free.com/
      Schmart Guy
      • 8 Months Ago
      The 32 amp rapid charge is a 3 phase AC supply. To take advantage of this you need a EV that supports 3 phase charging. Renault will be offering it in 2012 or 2013.
      David Peilow
      • 8 Months Ago
      "For first time-ever, electric vehicles will soon be able to travel the length of the UK" I could have sworn I heard of someone doing this before...
      Andrew Richard Rose
      • 8 Months Ago
      probably a little cheaper than a Hydrogen highway !
      krona2k
      • 8 Months Ago
      Not a bad start, next I look forward to being able to buy a cheap(ish) UK produced Leaf.. next year maybe. Hyundai, if you're reading this I've probably given up on you now.. sorry.
      • 8 Months Ago
      The fossil fuel energy companies are in panic! In the US, where oil & coal have called the shots for over a century, the US population is resistant to change. That is why America is declining, because when a country begins to resist change, it is suffering from arteriosclerosis. In 1421 the Chinese were the greatest power on earth. Nobody came close. Marco Polo a century earlier had told Europe what he saw there, and many could hardly believe it! Everyone, including Christopher Columbus wanted to find a way to get to China, but he failed. INstead he discovered continents that came to be called the Americas. But the Chinese, seeing nothing outside their borders in the world that could compare, began to look inwards and closed themselves off to the outside world, to try to protect themselves from "barbarians." And so, China stayed pat, while Europe, and later America, came up almost unnoticed by the Chinese, until it was too late for them. Americans today are becoming like the Chinese of 500 years ago. They are afraid of change. They want the world to be like it was in 1959! Just as the Chinese wanted to keep the world as it was in 1421. A country that looks to the past , and is afraid of the future, is a country whose own future is getting dimmer.
        goodoldgorr
        • 8 Months Ago
        The germans from germany with their audi's windmill hydrogen and e-gas project will not do like the chinese and americans of today.
        Marco Polo
        • 8 Months Ago
        Jack, that's a quite interesting viewpoint. However, just a couple of points. Columbus wanted to sail to India, not China. Marco Polo's silk road expedition took place in 1271, during the reign of the great Mongol Emperor, Kublai Khan. by 1421 most Western traders had forsaken China, in favour of the fabulous wealth to be gained from the spice trade in south east Asia, and India. By 1400 the Ming Dynasty was struggling to shore up its support in China, following the break up of the Mongol empire. In the West and North, the Ming's were in constant warfare with various Mongol factions, and in the South of China the Ming loyalists were preoccupied with suppressing insurgencies. The peace and security China enjoyed under the Mongol Empire, disappeared with the demise of the last strong Mongol Emperor. China under the Ming Dynasty became very defencive. Foreign invaders surrounded the middle kingdom, anti-Ming insurrections plagued the country for the next hundred years. The Ming's feared foreigners, not because they felt superior, (that was just propaganda) but due to the insecurity of the Ming dynasty from internal dissension. In contrast, the US while experiencing difficulties is still the home of innovation and free entrepreneurial thought. The US leads the world in nearly every field of creative thought. Only the Europeans and other westernised nations enjoy the same levels of education and and research.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Solar panels - just "whistles and bells" to make charging station smell like eco-friendly
      goodoldgorr
      • 8 Months Ago
      Free fuel is coming like i said before. This project will be free but bothersome compared to a free hydrogen station. To be free you need free inputs and this project have it but have the drawbacks of directly recharging bev contrary to hydrogen where you can do it for free but also store it and the refueling take 5 minutes so their is no drawback with hydrogen. Recharging a bev take hours so the machine is unnavailable for hours if more then one car need services.
        skierpage
        • 8 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Please stop spouting drivel. The "free input" from renewables is after you've spent $$$$ on solar or wind turbines. If you use renewables to make hydrogen you need 3X the "free input", increasing your costs dramatically.
          goodoldgorr
          • 8 Months Ago
          @skierpage
          The 'free inputs' displace traders and increase the cost of their salary dramatically. That's the only block for unlimited available 'free inputs'. 3x the electricity compared to 1 x for recharging is an argument invented by traders. I told you before, this is a website from traders, this is a 'subtle' petrol pr website where their is nothing that can replace petrol. Free energy is the thing that make petrol traders sick so let's continu with freebies.
      skierpage
      • 8 Months Ago
      A charging station that consumes a minimum of 3200 Watts, "solar-powered" by what looks like at most a 150 Watt panel? Agghh! But Ecotricity claims "Each charging post will be powered with 100 per cent green energy made at Ecotricity’s wind and solar parks across Britain", so the irrelevant solar panel is an expensive signal that you're recharging with green power.
      Ryan
      • 8 Months Ago
      I hope they have quite a few more solar panels to go along with that. I'm looking to have a 1.8 kWh system made up of 8 panels.... So in 4.5 hour of sunlight, the 8 panel array could produce enough for 1, 20 minute quick charge (32A @ 240V). Solar is good, they just need to have quite a few more panels on the building behind them.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Ryan
        If you are based in the UK I do hope you are paying for the panels yourself and not scumming off the poor by raising their electricity bills to pay for your indulgence, and flogging power back to the grid in the summer days when it is not needed. You do realise that the actual daily output of solar pv in the UK around midwinter when it would really be useful is around 6%, and down to a staggering 1% of the rated power? I wonder how much the 'excess winter death' toll of up to 50,000 a year will rise to pay for the likes of you and your fellow grifters when it hits the poor's fuel bills? What's the model? 'Kill a pensioner?'
          Noz
          • 8 Months Ago
          @ DAVID, Worry about your own country David as you watch it go down the drain LIVE.... Don't worry about UK and European lifestyle standards....they're WAY above yours.
          • 8 Months Ago
          Scumming off the poor? The poor pay bugger all in tax and most likely are scumming off the taxes paid by the middle classes with all their benefits. Seriously mate, stop being an utter cretin and keep your retarded class warfare to yourself.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I can't find where it says that the chargers are powered by solar panels, this is totally impractical for high capacity top up, and when the sun isn't shining you won't get much power. Great if those panels are feeding into the grid when it's sunny but it's misleading to presume that they can reliably charge a bunch of EV's at once. But I am all for solar panels, especially on your house, it's just that it's not quite as easy as the authors suggest, in the UK at least. Maybe in Saudi Arabia this would work. BTW David, we sunk a bunch of money into solar panels, with no subsidies, no nothing except the cost. We haven't installed them yet, just waiting until the market realizes that Peak Oil has hit (ie, when the Federal Reserve can no longer artificially suppress interest rates and everyone realizes we are on the verge of a Malthusian Collapse), then we shall see hyperinflation rapidly ensue and energy will be one commodity that will go sky high. I have no interest in storing 10 barrels of oil of the property, but 1.5 kW of solar panels will do just nicely. An monetary investment into the future that should yield great returns, or we could just install them on our roof instead...
        skierpage
        • 8 Months Ago
        Read other replies before posting. As I wrote 'Ecotricity claims "Each charging post will be powered with 100 per cent green energy made at Ecotricity’s wind and solar parks across Britain"'. The panel on top is just an expensive branding symbol.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 8 Months Ago
      way to go Dale but it's the level III chargers that will make the real difference. if they are too expensive to buy, maybe develop one yourself. it's not that hard. could be a business in itself
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