Ecotricity and GRIDSERVE has announced a major new collaboration to turbocharge development of the Electric Highway – Europe’s first nationwide charging network, which will transform electric vehicle charging facilities on Britain’s motorways and major roads.
The Electric Highway was launched in 2011 to enable early electric cars to drive the length and breadth of Britain - back when charging was by three-pin-plug, and 7kW was considered fast. Since then, charging standards have leapt to 50kW, then 150kW and the new state-of-the-art 350kW, while the range of new electric cars has leapt from 80 to 300 miles or more. This technical progress along with rapid price convergence of new electric cars with their fossil counterparts, has led to more than 200,000 electric cars on UK roads today and over 10% of all new car sales now being electric.
This new collaboration will ensure the Electric Highway is able to continue playing its part in the next chapter of the electrification of transport in Britain.
The transformation work has two elements - already underway. Firstly, all existing chargers will be replaced with new technology, doubling the capacity - offering all three connection types (CCS, CHAdeMO, and AC) and contactless payment. Secondly – a further six to 12 pumps of the all-new 350kW high power standard will be installed. Funding for the program is being provided by Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, also a shareholder in GRIDSERVE.
GRIDSERVE has taken a 25% stake in the Electric Highway and also bring their front and back-office technology and expertise to the upgraded network, which will also have 24 x 7 support.
Dale Vince, founder, Ecotricity, said:
“I’m a fan of GRIDSERVE’s Electric Forecourt concept, their vision and passion in this space. To be able to work together to make sure the Electric Highway continues to lead the electric car revolution in Britain is an exciting prospect. The Electric Highway kickstarted Britain’s electric car revolution - one decade ago this summer, and together with GRIDSERVE we have big plans for the second decade - and the end of fossil powered cars.”
Toddington Harper, chief executive officier, GRIDSERVE, commented:
“I’ve been driving an electric vehicle for eight years, and the Electric Highway was the network that originally made that possible. It’s therefore a huge privilege for myself and GRIDSERVE to take a role alongside Ecotricity in the next evolution of the Electric Highway. GRIDSERVE’s purpose is to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change, and the upgraded network will provide the confidence people need to immediately make the transition to a net zero, electric vehicle future. The new network will feature all of GRIDSERVE’s world-leading technology to ensure that electric vehicle charging is straightforward, anxiety free, and delivers an awesome customer experience”.
Robert Gordon, chief executive officer, Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, added:
“This is an exciting collaboration to take the electric vehicle drivers’ motorway experience to the next level.”