Gridserve and Ecotricity have announced a partnership aimed at upgrading the UK’s EV charging infrastructure on motorways and major roads.
Promising to “transform electric vehicle charging facilities,” the collaboration will cover the upgrading of Ecotricity’s charge points, some of which have been in operation for eight years.
The new partnership is promising that all existing chargers will be replaced with new technology, doubling the capacity so that two EVs can charge at once and offering all three connection types: CCS, Chademo and Type 2 AC. Gridserve and Ecotricity have said this initial work will be completed by the end of the summer.
Contactless payment functionality will be added as part of the upgrade – something that the UK government wanted to see in place by last spring.
A second phase, due later and subject to planning at each motorway service area, promises the installation of new 350kW chargers.
Ecotricity told Autocar: “These will be installed everywhere that’s possible. Our first one will be at Rugby in April. We will have six there, with plans for further sites as well.”
Currently, only Ionity’s chargers are capable of offering this high a charging rate to the British public.
Funding for the entire program, estimated at £30 million in phase one, is coming from Hitachi Capital, a Gridserver shareholder and affiliate of Hitachi Limited.
Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper said that sustainable electricity will continue to power the network: “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 existing infrastructure has been in place for a number of years, because some of the Ecotricity network was installed in the early days of electric cars.
Back in 2011, the company was at the forefront of the public EV charging infrastructure when it offered three-pin points at motorway services. Today, cars like the Porsche Taycan can accept 270kW, going from 5-80% battery charge in just over 20 minutes.
The new partnership comes off the back of the government trying to encourage more private investment in charging infrastructure. Transport minister Rachel Maclean told the Financial Times' decarbonisation summit that “we want the private sector to be able to invest ahead of need in the grid”.
Both BP and Shell have recently announced that they will be ploughing more money into the UK’s EV charging infrastructure.