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Electrical energy rises on UK roads

Infrastructure is central to growth in any sector, and it’s proving absolutely essential as electric vehicles (EVs) look to gain a foothold on our roads. A rapid charging network is growing in the UK and is likely to have a strong influence due to the fact that electric car sales have topped 10,000 for the first time - though it’s also worth noting that a drive to higher sales increases demand for such a network. Use of the 170 chargers installed by Ecotricity at motorway service stations has more than tripled in less than a year.

Competition from global giants is coming in a bid to provide the necessary electronic juice to serve a nation warming to EVs, with Tesla eyeing British growth, among others. Compared to the 35 million licensed vehicles across the UK, 10,000 represents a small percentage, but it indicates much-needed momentum. Even better figures can be found internationally: the USA has over a quarter of a million electric cars on the roads, but by population, nations like Norway and Estonia lead the way. China plans to invest $16billion in a charging network, a figure that when put into the context of such a populous nation, is very close to OLEV’s spending plans in the UK.

Providing charging infrastructure on motorways and ‘A’ roads is one thing, but what about urban areas, and larger EVs? Both are being addressed. We are managing a project, on behalf of Transport for London (TfL) where we will analyse where rapid charging points would help make the case for EVs. London is going to need to lead by example when it comes to creating the right environment for an EV boom in UK towns and cities, so it should be an interesting test case of how to hone those green economic credentials.

We’re interested to hear not only from those fleets already using EVs, but those considering it, and whose decision might be affected by the logistics of London’s rapid charging network. This project builds on the Plugged-in Fleets Initiative, and we’ll be giving advice on EVs to any organisation that takes part. Better EV options for businesses, better support for drivers of electric vehicles on our roads - all this could mean the end of ‘range anxiety’ once and for all.

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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