“Electric cars have massive potential for growth if we can put the right charging technology in the right place”, says Ecotricity founder Dale Vince – after consumption on their Electric Highway motorway charging network jumped 45-fold in the final quarter of 2012/13.
The results are revealed for Green Transport Week (14th -23rd June) and show that adding just 3 super-chargers to the Electric Highway’s existing 14 units resulted in over 4,000kWh of electricity consumed between February and April 2013 compared to just 87kWh during the corresponding three month period last year.
Alongside the increase in electricity use by over 4500%, the number of Electric Highway card-holders increased by 64%.
Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince said: “There are three perceived barriers to the take up of electric cars – price, travel range and charging times.
“The first of these – price – is being resolved by a combination of market forces pushing down prices and government incentives.
“The second and third are in some regard, one and the same. Concern over the distance that an electric car will travel on a single charge, called range anxiety, can be overcome if you have the right charging infrastructure in the right locations – to quickly recharge.
“While the majority of charging points in Britain are in towns and city centres – we believe this is actually where they are needed the least. We chose the motorway network for good reason and now that we are adding super-chargers into these locations, we can solve the problem of range anxiety and charging times in one go.
“Of course electric car ownership is starting from a very low base – but couple the fact that petrol prices remain stubbornly high, the Electric Highway is free to use and zero carbon – this shows the massive potential for growth if you put the right technology in the right place.”
Further statistics seem to back this up. The average car in Britain travels around 20 miles a day, which means most modern electric cars can be driven for almost 5 days without needing to charge and around 70% of car owners have access to off-street parking, so are able to charge at home overnight.
Vince continued: “So it's only for the longer journeys where charging is needed – and that means motorways and A-roads.”
Green energy company Ecotricity, are showcasing their faith in electric cars by transitioning their own pool car fleet from diesel engine vehicles to the 100% electric Nissan LEAF.
“It’s a proven electric car and the newest model has just started rolling off the production line in Sunderland around £10k cheaper than the previous model.
“So for us it was a no brainer: an electric car that’s Made-in-Britain and is now price competitive with a traditional diesel, yet better for the environment and miles cheaper to run.”
The first three super-chargers are situated between London and Birmingham at Welcome Break motorway services at South Mimms (M25/A1), Oxford (M40) and Hopwood Park (M42). Another super-charger is now up and running on the M1 at Newport Pagnell near Milton Keynes; and further super-chargepoints are being rolled out around the country this summer.
Unlike fuelling a conventional car, EVs can be left unattended while charging, and with the super-chargers on the Electric Highway allowing cars to recharge in less than 30 minutes, drivers can ‘refuel’ in the same time it takes to have a cup of coffee.
Electric car owners can register for a free swipe card simply by visiting Ecotricity’s website at www.ecotricity.co.uk/for-the-road.
Ecotricity has no plans to charge motorists to use its network for the foreseeable future.