• Sep 22, 2011
Electric vehicles can now drive between Bristol, Birmingham and London without fear of running out of juice since Ecotricity opened two additional charging stations along the UK's Electric Highway as part of the world's first nationwide charging network.
The Electric Highway currently has charging points at five Welcome Break service stations in the UK. Called "top-up zones," each station is powered by energy generated by Ecotricity's wind and solar parks scattered throughout the UK. In less than 18 months, all of the UK's 27 Welcome Break motorway service centers will have at least one charging point.

Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity and the man behind the Nemesis EV, says people often ask why his firm is building this Electric Highway when only 2,000 electric vehicles travel on the UK's roads. His response:
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.
That's our kind of thinking.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 19 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      'Within 18 months, "top-up zones," comprising one standard point and one fast charge point, will be fitted to almost 30 Welcome Break motorway service stations across the UK. For the first time, electric car drivers will be able to cover much of the country without worrying about running out of power.' http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/interview/2097883/ecotricity-sparks-national-recharging-network Take that, Clarkson!
      imoore
      • 3 Years Ago
      So when will we see this type of infrastructure in the States?
      David Peilow
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not sure how they can claim this is the world's first national charging network when it is neither national nor the first - even in the UK. We inaugurated just such a network 4 months ago http://green.autoblog.com/2011/05/25/tesla-roadster-goes-end-to-end-in-the-uk-900-miles-in-two-days/ . But let's not dwell on that. The problem is that the chargers are either 13A domestic plugs or 22kW three phase Mennekes style outlets. The former would make you wait 6 hours just to reach the next service area and the latter is compatible with nothing on the road at this point in time. I'm afraid to say that I agree Nissan's announcement is more significant (although it seems to be carefully worded so as to not commit Nissan themselves to pay for any of it). Ecotricity should have put in CHAdeMO and this network would have been useful to the several hundred Leafs and iMiEVs on the road now.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @David Peilow
        ok they adopted the new european 3 phase EV plug? well other than being new and no cars have it, it is fairly fast if the car has the electronics for it. 22kW. it can fill up an iMiev in about half an hour. if it had a charger for it. say 100km in 30 minutes. not too bad, when it comes around. ecotricity could develop a chademo for that power level and mount there. people could have their own mennekes to chademo charger but you'd have to hide it in the trunk and have cables sticking out which is messy. 3kW is certainly not enough for long distance driving
      lne937s
      • 3 Years Ago
      Although this is a good effort, Nissan's recent European charger announcement makes these 27 chargers seem almost insignificant. Over the same timeframe, by the end of 2012, they anticipate "thousands" of Nissan-designed quick chargers throughout Europe. By 2015, that jumps up to tens of thousands. http://www.newsroom.nissan-europe.com/EU/en-gb/Media/Media.aspx?mediaid=83745 If you take the 9.8 million square kilometers in the European Union and spread a grid of 2000 chargers over it (minimum number to make up "thousands"), it would space the chargers 70km (43 miles) apart. If you take 20,000 (minimum to have "tens of thousands"), it would space them 22km (~14 miles) apart... So, at lease in Europe and Japan, it looks like they are taking care of quick charging infrastructure.
      Dave
      • 3 Years Ago
      In the long run, they may find that giving away electricity is a bad business plan. I wonder what they will have to charge per kwh when they figure in real estate costs, hardware costs, installation costs, and maintenance costs.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dave
        They can always start charging when it gets popular enough. The real estate is paid for since they have to have parking lots for their customers anyway.
      Jelly
      • 3 Years Ago
      12 charging points, increasing to 27 for 60,000,000 million Brits to use? If 31 million British cars were electric there would a punch up at the 12 charging points. Just as well there are only 2,000 then.
      Jelly
      • 3 Years Ago
      Soon as electric car arrives, most Brits will go one up on the Jones and cycle to work instead to show they are more green. Somebody up my Mums road brought a Prius, everybody bar a couple on the block ended up selling their cars and started cycling to work to out green them. Brits are inverted snobs the arrival of the electric car will destroy car sales, sad to say this will all end in tears. Silver lining will be Arab oil use will end/trade gap narrowed as cars sales nose dive big time, as everybody hits the road on two wheel cycles.
      Chris M
      • 3 Years Ago
      It seems to me that the best places to put public EV rechargers would be at roadside diners and restaurants, maybe even fast food places, as drivers could get a snack or lunch while waiting for their cars to charge. I'm not familiar with the "Welcome Break Service Stations", but I do know that some US gas stations include convenience stores, snack bars, and/or fast food restaurants.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Chris M
        These would be the same, and are sited on major highways, a lot on motorways. If you are on a long journey, that is where you will stop off.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Electric vehicles are increasingly filling the market, indeed. But I still doubt the efficiency of green cars. There's a nice article on the need and affordability of green cars here http://www.wisecarshopper.com/2011/09/22/can-you-afford-to-spare-mother-earth-and-drive-a-green-car/?preview=true&preview_id=3998&preview_nonce=9870e685fd I think you will find it interesting.
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jennifer Hopkins. Hi! Firstly, may I say how refreshing it is to see a contribution on ABG from the other gender! This does get to be a bit of an all male debate! ('cept for DF, and he's a different species!) Too often female car owners are over looked in the alternate energy debate. Vectrix was the very first highway capable EV maxi-scooter, yet the designers scoffed at the idea of a 400 lb bike being too heavy for female commuters. The designer stating that the "female market for two-wheel transport was too small, and anyway, females would never understand the technology! " Vectrix subsequent bankruptcy, was hardly a surprise! But to answer your observation, IMO you are both right and misled. EV's are inherently more efficient since the energy used to move the vehicle, is not dissipated by heat loss, exhaust and other factors. However, the current method of storing electric energy is very expensive. This means the purchase price is high, but can be offset against cheaper operating costs. The EV is also quiet, much cleaner, and simple to drive. Have you had the opportunity to drive an EV? Which of the models on offer appeals to you? I'm sure most ABG readers would welcome your opinions with considerable interest.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        you doubt the efficiency of green cars? you mean they are still expensive so it doesn't make financial sense right now? or do you actually doubt that the very concept of efficient cars entails efficient cars.. sure they are expensive now, that's part greed and part novelty. but it's an argument you shouldn't make because it overlooks the big picture that we have to go green. have vision, not shortsightedness.
        gpmp
        • 3 Years Ago
        Jennifer, the article you reference doesn't question the efficiency of 'green' cars, Not clear why you would doubt it. Do a little homework and a little math. That should clear up your doubts.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      very nice even though I assume they are just level 2 and not the more useful level 3 chargers. do I remember wrong or did I once suggest here that someone like Dale Vince would be an obvious person to roll out such a network which can be quite useful. I wonder if he heard me. someone actually responding to a reasonable suggestion of mine, that would be a first : )
        Marco Polo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        No, DF, "a reasonable suggestion" by you would be a first! Incidentally, Dale Vince may not be the best person to hero-worship. Despite his Vegan, hippy green tech image, his empire might be about to end in tears. Not only did this oddity fleece the previous government for $620,000 to build himself a one off $1,159,350 sports car based on the Lotus and with similar looks and performance to the $110,000 Tesla. Now you might ask, why on earth would you build a Tesla clone, instead of just buying a Tesla, but Mr Vince is too busy answering what he has done with hundreds of millions eaten up by his wind turbine empire and all those government subsidies, granted on very dubious figures. Dale Vince is no Elon Musk!
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          I don't hero worship him though. nor do I accept your deranged claims about him. how do you know the cost of his car project? but yes if you develop a new car it should probably have some superior properties to those commercially available for much less. but it's not necessarily a waste if much is learned and new things are tried. and other benefits like awareness. Elon Musk is no hero of mine either. he makes many big mistakes. he has so far just been fortunate enough that his companies haven't crashed because of it. but Tesla is still in jeopardy.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Clarkson should soon find it difficult to locate somewhere he can plausibly 'run out' at!
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