The first three of many free EV charging points have just opened in the UK in Hertfordshire, Reading, and Gloucestershire. The Ecotricity charging points will be part of a network of free, 100% green energy powered charging stations expected to be completely installed by September that are juiced up with energy from Ecotricity’s solar or wind energy parks across the UK. Drivers can get a quick charge in 20 minutes or a full charge in 2 hours at the quick-charging points along the route, or stay in a hotel by the roadside while their car gets a more leisurely overnight charge at the standard charging outlets. Every station only has 2 outlets (which may not be enough for very long at the rate automakers are releasing electric cars) but they need to be accessed using a free but registered swipe card, which will keep Ecotricity aware of how many people are using the system.
The UK electric highway aims to cut range anxiety out of the equation when drivers decide if EVs make sense for their lifestyle, and it certainly is more useful than placing EV chargers only in London, which is what has happened up to this point. “Until now, charging posts have all been in city centers like London, but this is where you need them the least,” said Ecotricity founder Dale Vince. “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.” Vince also stated that at today’s oil prices, powering an electric car in Britain costs 1 penny per mile, compared with 10 cents for a gas-engined car. And if you’re charging on Ecotricity’s electric highway, you’re riding for free, with zero emissions from beginning to end.