One big concern people have when it comes to electric cars is the range, and the fear of being stuck too far away from a charging point when they run out of juice. While EV makers and petrol station proprietors have been working on installing chargers, the National Grid is coming to help.
The idea is that the National Grid will install fast-charging power points across the UK's motorway network. In fact, it's already outlined 50 potential sites that would ensure roughly 90 per cent of EV owners are never more than 50 miles from a charging point. The network will also be directly connected into the National grid's transmission network, rather than local grids which might be more susceptible to the strain of all the extra demand. The transmission network also runs quite close to the motorway network, so it's more efficient to do it that way anyway.
The chargers themselves are said to offer 350 kW of power, which lets compatible cars charge in 5-12 minutes. Though compatible is the key word, since there are cars out there (like the new Nissan Leaf) which can't handle that much power all in one go. Still, that means as cars and their batteries advance the charging stations won't need to be ripped out and replaced to accommodate new vehicles.
Graeme Cooper, project director of electric vehicles at the National Grid said:
"It's the critical infrastructure that's key, it's about future-proofing the network so it has the capacity to charge cars as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Range anxiety is listed at the top of reasons for not buying an electric car. National Grid is engaging with various parts of the Government and is offering scenario planning as a potential answer to show what's possible".
A National grid spokesperson confirmed that the move is likely to cost between £500 million and £1 billion, based on current market prices, but as the technology advances they expect the price to reduce. it also confirmed that the rollout will be structured and coordinated, ensuring that the network itself is future proof for electric vehicles of all kinds (including "light goods vehicles and trucks") - rather than focussing on connecting one person at a time. [Financial Times via Pocket Lint | AutoCar]