Ecotricity and Welcome Break to cure "range anxiety" with new scheme
This breakthrough in electric car infrastructure removes one of the main barriers for people wanting to buy electric cars – range anxiety – which currently restricts people to driving within their own city.
Every charging post will be powered with 100% green energy made at Ecotricity's wind and solar parks across the UK, and means that electric car drivers (and motorcycle riders) will be able to drive from London to Edinburgh or Exeter completely free and with vastly reduced emissions.
The first "top-up zone" will be installed at Welcome Break's South Mimms services (at the Junction of the M1 and M25) in July, and the first phase of the network spread across 12 motorway services will be completed by September. Each post will be located outside the main entrance, with two sockets that can be accessed by registering for a free swipecard. Within 18 months all 27 Welcome Break motorway services will have charging points.
Dale Vince OBE, founder of Ecotricity, said: 'Until now, charging posts have all been in city centres like London, but this is where you need them the least. Statistics show that it's not in towns and cities where electric cars need to recharge, but on longer journeys between cities – and that means motorways.
'We're creating the infrastructure to get Britain's electric car revolution moving. This marks the beginning of the end for the old combustion engine. With world oil prices going through the roof, you'll now be able to get around Britain using only the power of the wind. It costs 1p a mile in an electric vehicle, compared with 10p in a petrol car (at today's oil prices).'
He added: 'We consume 25 million barrels of oil every year in the UK to do the 250bn miles we drive every year. But we could power all that with 10,000 of today's windmills, or just 5,000 of tomorrow's.'
Rod McKie, chief executive officer of Welcome Break, added: 'We are very excited about working with Ecotricity. There is no doubt that the electric car will arrive on Britain's motorways and Welcome Break wants to be at the forefront of giving the modern motorist what they want, when they want it. As hybrid and electric cars become part of everyday life, Welcome Break will have the facility to fast-charge these cars, giving electric car drivers the opportunity to travel the length and breadth of the UK.'
Electric cars can top-up in just 20 minutes using rapid recharge points (32A supply) 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.