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Electric Highway to get first Combo chargers in May

Likely to become standardised for all plug-in vehicles in Europe, the Combined Charging System (CCS) adds two separate DC rapid charging pins to the Type 2/Mennekes AC connection, allowing electric vehicles to be charged to 80% capacity usually in under half an hour while retaining compatibility with slower units and home wallboxes via the same plug.

The first vehicles are already available, or will be soon. BMW has a CCS-based DC charging option on the i3 electric vehicle, and Volkswagen’s e-up! and e-Golf both feature the same connection.

Ecotricity will begin the CCS roll-out installing the first units on the M6 corridor between Birmingham and the Scottish border, but is targeting a six-month roll out to convert its entire Electric Highway network to the new standard. Some will be new locations, while others will add a separate unit alongside the existing AC/DC chargers on the UK’s busiest routes.

Working with Renault and Nissan, the Electric Highway now spans from London to West Wales, the South Coast to Scotland, with AC/DC charging points located at motorway service stations and city centre IKEA stores. It offers free access and the network is supplied with 100% renewably sourced energy.

Ecotricity said it will have a charging point at every motorway service station in the UK by the end of the year, and has begun to equip major A-roads too. Ongoing work to fix teething problems, caused by a now identified design fault with the charging units, will improve reliability too.

Dale Vince MBE, Ecotricity founder, said: ‘Two weeks from now we’ll begin a short program to replace one of the components in all of our pumps to temporarily improve their reliability, before implementing a major upgrade beginning in June.

‘If you’ve had any problems with our Electric Highway I apologise for any inconvenience, and assure you this problem has had our full attention. I hope you’ll understand that this is new technology and teething problems are perhaps to be expected – the good news is that those teething problems will very soon be behind us.’

 

Alex Grant

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