In the UK, Ecotricity’s network of charging stations that form the ‘Electric Highway’ one of the oldest charging networks in Britain, is to be comprehensively modernised. This will include contactless payment and multiple charging options.
For this renewal project, Ecotricity is cooperating with Gridserve who operates the ‘Electric Forecourt’. The opening in December 2020 was the first of more than 100 planned HPC rapid-charging parks. To drive the upgrade forward, Gridserve is taking a 25 per cent stake in the Electric Highway and contributing its technical expertise to upgrade the charging network, which will also involve round-the-clock customer support.
The first step has already started and involves replacing all existing charging stations on the Electric Highway with new multi-chargers (CCS, CHAdeMO and an AC charging option) at which contactless payment can be made. This project is scheduled for completion this summer. The second step involves installing a further six to twelve high-power charging points with a capacity of up to 350 kW at each location. The first site is scheduled to go into operation in April in the English town of Rugby.
Ecotricity launched the Electric Highway in 2011 to enable the first electric cars to drive across the UK but says that, in the intervening period, charging rates have continued to rise and the expansion of the charging network is now required.
Funding for the programme is being provided by Hitachi Capital, a shareholder in Gridserve. The investment volume is estimated at around 30 million British pounds, close to 35 million euros.