Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has pledged his support to the UK’s first privately funded nationwide EV charging network, which was launched today.
The Polar scheme, which is administered by London-based company Chargemaster, plans to install 4000 electric vehicle charging bays in 100 towns and cities by the end of next year. The scheme will start in the south and Midlands and spread northwards.
Access to the Polar network will be via a monthly subscription, which will initially be set at £24.50, plus a payment of 90 pence each time a charging unit is used. This provides “fuel” for up to 100 miles of electric car driving compared. Other tariffs are available for business users, as well as for private subscribers who solely charge at home or at public points.
Subscribers are issued with a swipe card with which to access the public charging points. Installation of a Polar charging point at a subscribers’ home will involve a one-off cost of £95. Subscribers get installation of their home charging point, access to the 4000 public bays, plus a range of member benefits including discounts on parking, hotels and restaurants.
Also part of the package is a smart phone app that can inform users of their car’s current charge status, where local charge points are and whether the points are free for use at a particular point in time.
Hammond described Polar as, “Exactly the kind of private sector-led initiative that we need to drive the development of our national network of recharging infrastructure”.
Polar is intended to complement the Government’s Plugged in Places (PiP) EV charging network, which exists in eight UK regions.