Chargemaster to launch "POLAR" EV charging network in London
POLAR is a privately funded EV network that stems from a need for a national infrastructure of charging points across the country. Supported by the motoring industry and Government, POLAR will bring the UK to the forefront of the global electric vehicle market.
POLAR’s membership scheme gives EV drivers the means to charge wherever they are. As EV users are more likely to charge their vehicles at home, the scheme provides its members with excellent home charging benefits including a subsidised high-tech Homecharge EV charging unit (£95 instead of £995) which is fully installed and safety checked as well as a special electricity tariff for EVs on domestic usage. It also includes access to POLAR’s public network of over 4,000 charging points; an iPhone / iPad app showing charge point locations and availability; and, a range of member benefits including discounts on parking, hotels and restaurants.
The launch will showcase a number of electric vehicles the Nissan Leaf, Renault Fluance, Mini ED, Vauxhall Ampera, Chevrolet Volt and Tesla Roadster. It will also highlight Chargemaster’s extensive partnerships which form the POLAR network to provide the UK with a high density EV charging infrastructure. These include Little Chef which recently announced its roll out of quick EV chargers across the UK using Chargemaster technology as well as Waitrose, NCP and Britannia Parking, amongst others.
The roll out of POLAR will initially be in approximately 100 towns and cities across the UK providing 4,000 fully installed electric vehicle charging bays by the end of 2012. In each of the 100 towns and cities, POLAR will operate around 40 publically available charging bays and this will provide a core strategic nationwide infrastructure enabling electric cars to be bought and used in many towns that previously were not practically equipped for electric cars. The 4,000 unit network has been designed to build on and complement the Government supported Plugged in Places (PiPs) programme which is focused on eight locations in the UK.
Every town with a POLAR charging network of 40 bays will be granted “EV Ready” status with a certificate presented to the local authority. This will enable the municipality to attract electric car manufacturers such as Renault, Nissan, Ford, Peugeot, Citroen, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Smart and Vauxhall which either have electric cars available now or will shortly be launching new models in their local showrooms. By creating the most comprehensive charging infrastructure in the world it is expected that motor manufacturers will increasingly use the UK as the launch markets for their new ultra low carbon car models.
POLAR is entirely privately funded with no Government or local authority financial support. Access to the POLAR charging network will be by a small monthly membership subscription and a payment of 90 pence each time a charging unit is used. This provides “fuel” for up to 100 miles of electric car driving compared with around £16 for 100 miles in a comparable petrol or diesel car.*
Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Transport, said: ‘Today’s announcement by Chargemaster is exactly the kind of private-sector-led initiative that we need to drive the development of our national network of recharging infrastructure. It comes hot on the heels of our recent Plug-In Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy where we set out a range of steps to significantly improve the commercial case for infrastructure provision. It is good to see the Government’s pump priming investment, delivered through the Plugged-In-Places programme, leading so quickly to private sector investment in public charging infrastructure.’
Olivier Paturet, General manager of Nissan Electric Vehicles, commented: ‘The launch of POLAR today clearly confirms the leadership position the UK has taken in the race towards the mass deployment of electric cars in Europe. POLAR will demonstrate that an affordable domestic charger offer complemented by a dense national charging network are key factors towards the mass adoption of Electric Vehicle. Affordability and ease of access will convince more UK customers to adopt an EV and enjoy zero emission mobility. We congratulate Chargemaster on its investment in such a large scale and we also salute the fact that the charging network will be inter-operable.’
David Martell, chief executive of Chargemaster Plc, commented: ‘The launch of POLAR is an exciting step forward for the UK. Chargemaster is proud to be at the forefront of the sector, and with 4,000 charging bays across the UK by the end of 2012, we are striving to make low carbon motoring, a viable choice for British motorists.’
The average daily mileage for 80 per cent of the UK population is less than 30 miles, making EVs a perfect choice for many motorists. By 2020, it is widely expected that one in every ten cars in the UK will be an EV, with 20,000 EVs in use by as early as the end of 2013.