UK Motorways To Get 50 New EV Fast Chargers


Highways England hopes the plan will help motorists switch to electric cars.

More than 50 new electric vehicle charging points will be built near Britain’s motorways and main roads as part of a £2.8 million deal.

Highways England, the government-run company in charge of England’s strategic road network, awarded the contract jointly to BP Chargemaster and Swarco UK as part of its drive to promote the uptake of electric cars. The organisation wants to ensure that 95 percent of its network is within 20 miles of a charging point, in the hope that this will encourage more motorists to switch to electric power.

The contract will see Swarco UK build new charging points in the south of the country while BP Chargemaster builds those in the north. The two companies will install the charging points over the next nine months, and then will be responsible for their operation and maintenance for the coming seven years.

The news comes just a week after figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that EV sales have doubled in the past 12 months, with February alone seeing more than 730 examples hit the roads of the UK. However, despite the uplift in sales, electric cars still represent less than one percent of all new cars sold.

Electric vehicle charging in street

Mark Collins, Highways England’s environmental designated fund portfolio manager and the man in charge of the project, said the charging points would help reduce the “range anxiety” commonly associated with electric cars.

“To help improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions we’re introducing more electric charging points,” he said. “These will be built at locations near to the network, for example at nearby town centres. This shows that we are looking ahead to meet the future demand for this facility.

“This contract is about supporting drivers of electric vehicles using our network. It will give them additional charging facilities just off England’s motorways and major A-roads to help them make longer journeys and reduce the anxiety of potentially running out of power. We look forward to the benefits this will provide drivers on our roads.”

David Martell, the chief executive of BP Chargemaster, said the company was proud to be improving the country’s electric car infrastructure, which he hoped would help drivers make the transition to electric cars.

“Access to convenient, fast and reliable charging points across the UK will help enable the mass adoption of electric vehicles,” he said. “We have been focused on creating such infrastructure over the past 10 years and are very proud to be working with Highways England to expand the provision of rapid charging points so that an even greater number of drivers can make the switch to electric.”

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8 Comments on "UK Motorways To Get 50 New EV Fast Chargers"

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Hopefully they’re not installing just one 50 kW DC fast charger per location. That setup is now becoming outdated, useful for the early adopter era when just having a DCFC was helpful, but not very productive for mainstream consumers driving EVs. For highway travel, DCFC locations now must have at least 4 (preferably more) 150-350 kW capable fast chargers.

It would not surprise me if one 50 kW DC fast charger per location was the case, I find that electric vehicle news stories from my home country tend to be underwhelming.

I could put up with up to about 20-30 mins of charging time on long journeys giving about an extra 200 miles of range *IF* they were located alongside somewhere you could go to the toilet, get a coffee and maybe something to eat, and didn’t involve a long detour off route. And could be pretty certain there wasn’t going to be a long queue to use them.

Talking about “nearby town centres” doesn’t give me a lot of confidence. Teslas SuperChargers just look better and better………….

Hopefully they are reliable. The present setup is notoriously unreliable – many reports of drivers finding the chargers out of order at a service area, driving on to the next one and finding they are not working there either. This is one of the big advantages Tesla has that is often overlooked with all the talk of number of chargers or power of chargers, that the user experience is typically a lot better and more reliable using its SCs.

Can someone from the UK clarify – I understand Ecotricity had a contract with the relevant department/organisation to be the sole EV charger provider (except for Tesla superchargers) at UK highway service centres? Is this different, or has that agreement now expired?

Smart move from Tesla to have chosen CCS for the European model 3.

Very nice, but the amount of times I use a motorway each year is rather low. Chargers need to be rolling out to places farther out than just motorway service stations so that drivers who commute to workplaces in their own locale each day can also fast charge.

If you live in a terraced house then the only option is to fast charge. And you probably work fairly near to where you live. Ideally I’d like to see Shell, BP etc put charging stations in at their local petrol stations; the nearest of which is still several miles away from me.

My local supermarket has 4 chargers, and that seems a pretty good place to put them. Somewhere you’re likely to drive to anyway, and will leave the car for an hour or so.