Electric cars can now drive between Bristol, Birmingham and London without fear of running out of power after Ecotricity opened new charging points on the M4 and M42 as part of the world’s first national charging network.
Every charging post will be powered by green electricity from Ecotricity’s 54 windmills and solar farms across the country.
The Electric Highway now has charging points at Welcome Break services on the M25/M1, M40, M4 and M5.
This breakthrough in electric car infrastructure removes one of the main barriers for people wanting to buy electric cars – so called ‘range anxiety’ – with people restricted to driving within their own city and afraid to drive between cities for fear of running out of power.
Five motorway ‘top-up zones’ have now been installed at Welcome Break motorway services, including:
- Hopwood Park services (M42 at junction 2)
- Membury services (M4 between London and Bristol – between J14 and J15)
- South Mimms services (M25 and M1 junction)
- Michaelwood services (M5 between Bristol and Birmingham)
- Oxford services (M40 between London and Birmingham – junction 8a at Oxford)
A sixth ‘top-up zone’ is also located at the base of an Ecotricity windmill:
- Green Park windmill (M4 near Reading)
Twelve ‘top-up-zones’ will soon be located at motorway services around the country to complete the first phase of the network. Each post will be located outside the main entrance of Welcome Break, with two sockets that can be accessed by registering for a free swipe-card. Within 18 months, all 27 Welcome Break motorway services across Britain will have charging points.
Electric cars using rapid recharge points (32A supply) can top-up in just 20 minutes or fully charge in two hours; while those using the slower (13A supply) will be able to recharge fully if staying overnight at motorway service hotels.
Dale Vince OBE, founder of Ecotricity, said: “People have asked why we are building this Electric Highway when there are only about 2,000 electric cars on the road today. In fact that’s a big part of the reason – a lack of demand.
“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.”