Green energy company Ecotricity has today confirmed the sale of the Electric Highway – the world’s first national charging network for electric cars – to GRIDSERVE.
Established in 2011, the Electric Highway played a key role in kickstarting the country’s electric vehicle revolution, enabling early adopters to drive the length and breadth of Great Britain.
The sale will enable Ecotricity to push new boundaries in its green energy business, with innovations like Britain’s first Green Gasmill – a revolutionary process of making ‘natural gas’ for the grid simply from grass. It will also bring forward a series of solar and battery storage projects to be built without government support, while expanding its Sky Mining facility – a carbon capture and storage process that turns atmospheric carbon dioxide into lab ground diamonds, known as Skydiamond.
Times have certainly changed since the Electric Highway was first established. Over the course of a decade, charging has leapt from 3-pin plugs and 7kW to the now state-of-the-art 350kW standard, which is capable of providing 100 miles of charge in around 5 minutes. Plus, the typical range of a car battery has grown from 80 miles to more than 300.
The technical progress and rapid price convergence of new electric vehicles with their fossil-fuel counterparts sees more than half a million plug-in cars in the UK, with over a quarter of a million battery-electric vehicles on UK roads.
Moreover, many of the world’s largest car manufacturers have announced dates for the final production of fossil powered cars, while the government has confirmed a ban on the sale of new petrol or diesel vehicles by 2030. The unlikely EV revolution that began with the support of the Electric Highway ten years ago will likely near completion in just ten more.
Looking ahead, GRIDSERVE are ramping up their investment in the Electric Highway with the replacement of all the existing pumps on the network with new technology that features all the latest advances, including contactless payment.
Indeed, 17 Electric Highway charging locations have already been upgraded, and Zap-Map is updating these as they are rolled out.
Some of the upgraded Electric Highway charging locations, as shown on Zap-Map.
Last month, the Electric Highway opened the first high-power charging facility on the country’s motorway network – at Moto’s new flagship Rugby services, which features 12 of the new 350kW chargers.
Dale Vince OBE, Founder of Ecotricity, said:
“We’ve reached an interesting point in the electric car revolution – exponential growth is just round the corner, while the technology for charging has evolved into one ruling standard, offering charging speeds that are almost on par with fossil powered ones, where you top up once every week or two.
“At the same time, the Electric Highway needs a growth spurt to make sure it stays ahead of driver demand and continues to play its key role as the network that delivers more miles a year for UK drivers than any other. For this, the Electric Highway needs an owner with access to serious funding and real commitment to the cause – and I’m delighted to have found the ideal company in GRIDSERVE to hand the baton to.”
Toddington Harper, CEO at GRIDSERVE, commented:
“It’s a real honour for GRIDSERVE to have been chosen by Ecotricity as the organisation to take the Electric Highway forward in its next phase. Our purpose is to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change, and the upgraded network will provide the conference for millions more to make the successful transition to electric vehicles in the earliest possible timeframes.”