UK Fast Going Electric; First Phase of Charging Network Now Complete

It’s often said that one of the reasons more people don’t buy electric cars is because of a lack of charging facilities. The reason that more charging facilities aren’t built could be because not enough people are buying electric cars. But the UK’s Ecotricity is hoping to break that impasse.

Ecotricity’s charging points are wind-powered and in doing this, they have made a serious point. Britain needs to switch to electric cars as fast as possible. But that alone is not enough. Where the electricity comes from is vitally important.

Electric cars are to run on renewable energy sources and then only their full zero-emission driving potential is realized. Green energy firm Ecotricity has launched the world’s first national motorway charging network for electric vehicles.

It has installed free power points at 12 Welcome Break service stations, with 17 more promised later in the year. Until now, a lack of charging points between towns and cities has made longer journeys impractical.

The national network also addresses another common complaint about electric vehicles which is the charging time. But the power outlets mentioned above offers two types of sockets; a three-pin one for 13A current supply and a seven-pin one for a higher 32A supply.

Using the 13A supply can mean waiting around 12 hours and probably spending the night in one of the service area hotels. Opting for the higher current option will top-up a car in just 20 minutes and fully charge it in one hour, said Mr. Vince, the head of Ecotricity.

Despite the promise of charging points dottingBritain’s landscape, there are still relatively few people choosing electricity over petrol or diesel. One of the reasons is price. Electric vehicles are still a lot more expensive than gas-powered models.

But Vince thinks that just like mobile phones and computers, electric cars prices are bound to come down over time.

The UK’s Transport minister Mike Penning, who was present at the scheme’s launch cited the role of subsidies in boosting electric car sales. Drivers can receive up to £5,000 to put towards the cost of an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle.

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