19.12.2011 Ecotricity to expand 'electric highway'
Ecotricity, leading green electricity provider, has installed a network of electric vehicle charging stations in motorway service stations, making it possible to travel between major cities without running out of power.
The 'electric highway' officially opens this weekend, and will initially link London, Bristol, Exeter, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and the Lake District. Ecotricity have also announced that the network will be expanded in 2012.
Plans to extend the network involve installing additional points at motorway service stations so that Cardiff, Swansea, Edinburgh and Glasgow will be reachable with the existing range of electric vehicles. There will also be points placed at service stations on the M1, near Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds.
Other locations that will be included in the expanded network will be Fleet Service on the M3, in Hampshire – a busy service station which will allow people to travel with more confidence between London and the South West in an electric vehicle. Chargers will also be placed at the Eurotunnel passenger terminal.
A ChargePoint Services Ltd post is installed at each location. Each has the capability to provide a slow 13A charge using a domestic 3-pin plug, and a faster 32A charge through a Mennekes Mode 3 Type 2 connection. These will charge the average electric vehicle in roughly 8 or 4 hours respectively.
Charging points have become relatively common in most large towns and cities in the UK, largely funded through the Government's Plugged-In-Places scheme. The locations of every public installed charge point location can be seen on Next Green Car's Zap-Map.
However, Ecotricity's free electric highway network is the nation's first to be located between cities, increasing confidence of electric vehicle users wishing to travel between urban regions. It is this 'range anxiety' that seems to have been a major discouragement of buying electric cars, and that Ecotricity are hoping to reduce.
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