Electric Highway signals all-electric fleet for Ecotricity
The Stroud-based company already has 20 locations on its Electric Highway, all of which are at Welcome Break motorway services, and has been upgrading all of them to fast chargers as the network expands. All units are supplied with renewable energy and free to use, accessed using Ecotricity's own membership scheme, the Source London Plugged-in Places, Plugged-in Midlands and Source East programmes.
By the end of the year, Electric Highway MD and Ecotricity board member Simon Crowfoot (pictured) expects to have around 24 Welcome Break services equipped with fast chargers, and a further 20 city centre fast charging units installed at Ikea stores, all of which will be part-funded by OLEV and Nissan but compatible with a most electric vehicles.
‘There’s not much point in putting in anything less than fast charger. Dwell time at motorway services – that is the time the vehicle is parked – is the same as the charge time for fast charge point,’ Crowfoot explained. ‘There’s an industry-wide effort to identify the best locations to put in equipment so dealers are comfortable to sell electric vehicles and buyers are comfortable to buy them.’
Crowfoot is also working towards partnerships with the remaining service station companies, targeting fast chargers at all motorway services in the UK within 18 months – a process which will make it increasingly viable for fleets to make the switch to electromobility, he said.
That includes Ecotricity itself, which has eight charging points at its headquarters for a fleet of 11 Nissan LEAFs, a Vauxhall Ampera and Renault’s ZOE and Twizy used internally and by players at the Forest Green Rovers football club in Gloucestershire.
‘We have a legacy fleet of small diesels we want to get rid of,’ he explained. ‘In six months it’s going to be completely viable. Once the fast chargers are in, we won’t have a 100-mile limit on the brain. We’ve already got people using the Electric Highway to get from London to Birmingham.’