Nissan has opened its first rapid-charge points at Welcome Break motorway services in South Mimms (M25/A1), Oxford (M40) and Hopwood Park (M42).
It means electric cars will be able to re-charge between London and Birmingham from empty to 80% full in approximately half an hour.
The chargers are situated in designated parking bays and are free to use.
Jim Wright, managing director of Nissan Motor (GB), said: “By introducing rapid 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.”
Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, 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 rapid chargers at motorway service stations, all powered with 100% renewable energy from Ecotricity.”
Twelve months ago, Ecotricity rolled out the first phase of its ‘Electric Highway’ with Standard (13 Amp) and Fast (32 Amp) charge points installed at 14 Welcome Break motorway services – connecting London to Bristol and Exeter, and north to Birmingham, Manchester and the Lake District.
The Standard (13 Amp) chargers that take between 8-10 hours to fill up are being phased out completely over the next couple of months and replaced by updated Fast (32 Amp) chargers.
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 rapid 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.”
Electric car owners can register for a free swipe card simply by visiting Ecotricity’s website.
Ecotricity has no plans to charge motorists to use its network for the foreseeable future.