Ecotricity, the company that launched the first nationwide charging network (Electric Highway) in the UK in 2011, and Gridserve, which recently debuted the UK's first 'Electric Forecourt', announced a major new collaboration.
The plan is to significantly improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure on Britain’s motorways and major roads.
The foundation for the partnership is Gridserve's purchase of a 25% stake in the Electric Highway, plus the utilisation of Gridserve's "front and back-office technology and expertise to the upgraded network, which will also have 24 x 7 support". Additionally, Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC (a shareholder in Gridserve) will provide funding for the upgrade of the Electric Highway.
The first element of the transformation of the Electric Highway is to replace all the existing chargers (which were up to 50 kW) with new ones that will be much better.
The new chargers will be equipped with three connectors (CCS2, CHAdeMO, and AC Type 2), the capability to charge two EVs simultaneously (which doubled the capacity), be more reliable and offer contactless payment.
The installations are already underway and some chargers already got installed. All old chargers should be replaced within several months.
The second element is a further expansion of the charging sites with 6-12 ultra-fast chargers (up to 350 kW). It would be a major improvement to the Electric Highway, which is already positioned along major routes.
We guess that the location of the Electric Highway's stations was the main asset in the partnership with Gridserve. Overall, it sounds like a win-win strategy for both partners and more importantly, for the EV drivers.
Dale Vince, Founder, Ecotricity, said:
“I’m a fan of GRIDSERVE’s Electric Forecourt concept, their vision and passion in this space. To be able to work together to make sure the Electric Highway continues to lead the electric car revolution in Britain is an exciting prospect.
“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 powered cars.”
Toddington Harper, CEO, GRIDSERVE, commented:
“I’ve been driving an electric vehicle for 8 years, and the Electric Highway was the network that originally made that possible. It’s therefore a huge privilege for myself and GRIDSERVE to take a role alongside Ecotricity in the next evolution of the Electric Highway.
“GRIDSERVE’s 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 feature all of GRIDSERVE’s world-leading technology to ensure that electric vehicle charging is straightforward, anxiety free, and delivers an awesome customer experience”.