New partnership to revamp electric car motorway charging network

Ecotricity and Gridserve join forces to transform the UK’s motorway charging infrastructure with ultra-fast chargers and contactless payment...


A partnership between UK start-up Gridserve and electricity provider Ecotricity promises to transform the electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities at motorway service stations around the nation, many of which were first installed in 2011. 

The first phase of the improvements will be to replace all existing Ecotricity chargers, which can only serve a single vehicle, with modern units that can charge two cars, effectively doubling charge point capacity. The new chargers will be able to accept contactless payments and will be compatible with the three main types of charging plugs – CCS, CHAdeMO and AC – making them usable for a wider range of vehicles. 

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The second phase of upgrading will involve the installation of between six and 12 additional high-power 350kW chargers at each motorway services location. This will be dependent on the granting of planning permission at each site. 

The services at junction 16/17 of the M1 near Rugby will be the first site to gain the ultra-fast chargers. Six chargers will be installed there in April. 

Ecotricity’s Electric Highway motorway charging network was at the forefront of electric car charging infrastructure when its first units were installed nearly a decade ago, but it has been criticised in recent years by electric car owners for having a high number of chargers that don’t work. 

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Currently, the only company offering 350kW public charging is Ionity, which operates at 13 locations around the UK. Electric cars with the fastest charging ability, such as the Porsche Taycan, can replenish their batteries from 10% to 80% in just 20 minutes using these chargers. 

Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, said: “The Electric Highway kickstarted Britain’s electric car revolution one decade ago this summer, and together with Gridserve we have big plans for the second decade – and the end of fossil-fuel powered cars."

Toddington Harper, CEO of Gridserve, commented: “Our purpose is to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change, and the upgraded network will provide the confidence people need to immediately make the transition to a net-zero, electric vehicle future. The new network will ensure electric vehicle charging is straightforward and anxiety-free.” 

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