72% Of Service Stations On England’s Motorway Network Equipped With Charging Points

2 years ago by Mark Kane 11

Nissan and Ecotricity call for official EV charging point signage

EV charging point signage

Strategic roads and charging points (source: RAC Foundation)

Strategic roads and charging points (source: RAC Foundation)

According to the RAC Foundation, 70 out of 97 (72%) of service stations on England’s motorway network are now equipped with charging points for electric vehicles.

That’s not bad, and 92% of the total 165 spots are also of the DC fast charging variety.

Motorways are now well electrified, as there is nearly always some charging point within 20 miles (see table below).

“RAC Foundation analysis of data from the publicly available, government established, National Charge Point Registry shows that an electric vehicle driver will now be no more than 20 miles from a service station charge point on 98% (1,831 miles out of 1,859 miles) of the motorway system in England.

When the analysis is broadened out to the whole of the Strategic Road Network managed by Highways England – not just motorways but also major A roads – then 82% (3,845 miles out of 4,668 miles) of the system is within 20 miles of a charge point.”

Checking the strategic road network, it turns out there is still a need to install more chargers – 63% of the average motorways in the UK  are within 20 miles of a charging point (82% for England).

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Electric car drivers might still struggle to drive from Land’s End to John o’ Groats but they can now travel from Southampton to Perth in a relatively straight line and be confident of being able to ‘fill up’ along the way.

“The growing charge point network is good news but there are important caveats.

“Though many of the charge points are rapid, it will still take at least 20 minutes to fully charge a battery, which is fine if you’re first in line but could be a challenge if the hoped-for take up of electric cars materialises and you’re stuck at the back of a long queue.

“Drivers need to know the charge point they intend to use is actually working. Previous research by the RAC Foundation, suggested that at any one time a third of charge points in London were out of action.”

Motorways

Whole strategic road network
Total length of road % of network within 20 miles of charge point Total length of road % of network within 20 miles of charge point
England 1,859 98% 4,668 82%
Scotland 270 98% 1,963 28%
Wales 83 100% 1,044 45%
GB TOTAL 2,212 98% 7,675 63%

Source: RAC Foundation

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11 responses to "72% Of Service Stations On England’s Motorway Network Equipped With Charging Points"

  1. Brandon says:

    I believe what’s meant by “service station” is what may be referred to as a service plaza or rest area. I don’t believe it is saying 72% of gas stations on England’s motorway network are equipped with charging points as these fast chargers are located in the parking lot area.
    If these locations can become more reliable than they are now that would definitely help, especially when 100 kW+ charging speeds happen in the future. They are the best locations for an intercity fast charge stop.

    1. Will says:

      A service station is a motorway-side services, which is what we call those places that contain restaurants, a truck stop, place to buy fuel, toilets and other various amenities.

      A petrol station is where we fill up our cars.

      Are you saying in America a gas station is also known as a service station?

      1. Brandon says:

        Heh… Interesting. Yes, in the US a service station would be understood as a gas station. This looks to be a difference in British English and American English terms 🙂
        Typically on toll roads we call these areas Service Plazas, and along the Interstate highways they would be called Rest Areas or Rest Stops. Service Plazas will have restrooms, restaurants, and a gas station. Rest Areas usually just have restrooms and a vending machine. There is one other type of stop called a Travel Plaza, and these have all that a Service Plaza would have but are not accessed directly off the highway via a dedicated exit. One benefit of these is that they can be accessed by both directions of highway traffic.

    2. Stephen says:

      UK service stations have restaurants, fast food, convenience stores, restrooms and sometimes hotels with a gas station close by. Most of them can only be accessed directly from the freeway (motorway). Most travelers spend 5-30 minutes for a stop. They are comfortable places to wait for an EV to be topped up at a DVFC EVSE.

  2. Pretty good coverage! Too bad they appear to have only been installing them in single units per location. Two separate chargers should be the absolute minimum on all of these types of installations.

    1. Brandon says:

      I don’t know how many only have one charger per location, but I think Ecotricity’s installations typically include two fast chargers. Can someone confirm this? I agree 100%, at least two fast chargers should be installed at these highway ‘Service Station’ locations.
      Here is a piece I wrote recently titled Reliable Fast Charge Networks

      http://www.nextgenfastchargenetworks.blogspot.com/2016/02/reliable-fast-charge-networks-my-name.html?m=1

    2. BraveLilToaster says:

      If wishes were horses, they say…

  3. Just_Chris says:

    Clearly there need to be more blue dots on the map but I think this should really give people an idea of how well suited a BEV is to Britain.

    Range really isn’t such an issue in such a densely populated country (cluster of 3 countries). Wales could be largely covered with another 4 or 5 stations and England could be finished off with another 20 or so DCFC’s. In Scotland things get much harder but not impossible.

    It really wouldn’t be a herculean effort to put a DCFC every 20 miles on the major English and Welsh motorways and A roads in the next 12 to 18 months. Obviously once those are in then there would have to be serious consideration to how many we need at each site but lets get one every 20 miles and then worry about expanding at a later date.

    I don’t think there is any wasted effort putting in 50 kW DCFC’s, when the 200 mile BEVs come along they can still use the 50 kW stations. Most “long” journey’s in the UK would be less than 300 miles so one 50 kW stop might be all that’s needed. Even really long journey’s like London to Edinburgh are only 400 ish miles that would take you 8 hrs of straight driving. If drive for 2hrs fill for 15 min at 50 kW and you’ll almost make it on that journey with a 200 mile BEV. Add in a single 30-40 min stop or a single 100kW charge stop and you’ll easily make it. Not something you’d want to do every day but I reckon if you drive 400 miles more than 4 times a year in the UK you’ll be in a pretty small minority with most cars never doing that sort of trip regularly.

    I guess my point is seeing this map and understanding how I used to drive when I lived in the UK I don’t think we need any magical break through, enormous beefing up of infrastructure or technology step change to start mass adoption I just think it needs to happen. I can’t see why a good 10-15% of the cars in England and Wales couldn’t be current generation “100” mile bevs, once we get the 200 mile bevs hitting the road that number should be nearer 30%.

  4. Alan says:

    Once the 200 mile BEV’s arrive there would be reason why mass adoption couldn’t take place in the UK as long as prices start to come down.

    You can drive from one side of the country to the other on 200 miles and from North to South with a couple of stops.

    The infrastructure is almost complete and should be good to go by the time affordable EV’s with 200 miles hit the market.

  5. PVH says:

    This is the obvious way to go, well done.

  6. Joe says:

    After early issues with the rapids the Ecotricity units have much better reliability than the very broken network of type 2 charge points in London.
    https://evstatus.com/chargers.php
    Comparing the two is misleading.