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Nissan and Ecotricity launch fast, free EV charging in central England

Posted on 02 October 2012

Car-maker Nissan is today launching free, fast charge points for
electric vehicles at strategic locations on Ecotricity’s ‘Electric
Highway’ motorway charging network.

But in an indication of the stop-start nature of the electric car
market, Toyota, maker of the world's most successful hybrid electric
car, the Prius, has also announced that it is only to make about 100 of
its eQ all-electric cars.

The Ecotricity-Nissan charge points will give an 80% boost to an
electric car’s battery in about half an hour. They are situated in
designated parking bays at Welcome Break motorway services between
London and Birmingham in South Mimms (M25/A1), Oxford (M40) and Hopwood
Park (M42).

The vehicles can be left unattended while charging on the 50KW DC
hook-up, so that drivers can take a quick break. The free electricity is
provided from wind power by Ecotricity.

Jim Wright, Managing Director of Nissan Motor (GB) said: “Many
drivers would love to experience the convenience and cost saving
benefits of a 100% electric vehicle such as the Nissan LEAF.

"But some still worry about the occasional journey which may be
beyond the 109 mile range. By introducing rapid charging infrastructure
at strategic motorway service stations, Nissan and Ecotricity are
removing that worry and making EVs practical to a whole new selection of

Dale Vince, founder of renewable energy company Ecotricity said: “We
believe this will prove to be a game-changing moment in making electric
cars a practical choice for motorists – helping to reduce carbon
emissions at a time when petrol prices are spiralling upwards."

A year ago, Ecotricity teamed up with Welcome Break and installed a
series of standard (13 amp) and fast (32 amp) charge points at 14 of
their services. These are similar to what drivers may use at home, and
take between 6 and 10 hours to fill up.

The standard ones are being replaced over the next two months by the fast chargers.

Transport Minister Norman Baker said: “I welcome this ground-breaking
project, which will be a huge boon to drivers of electric cars.

“Electric vehicles are spearheading a low carbon revolution in
motoring and sales are gathering pace – the number of drivers benefiting
from our Plug-In Car Grant this year is already well up on last year.

“With more electric vehicles on the road, it is clearly important
that there are facilities to recharge them – this plan could deliver a
sea change in the sector.

"A national network of rapid chargers powered by the sun and wind
where drivers know they can top up their car in the time it takes to
drink a coffee will make them confident that they can get from A to B –
no matter what the distance between the two.”

To use the charge points, drivers need first to register for a free swipe card by visiting Ecotricity’s website.

The Nissan LEAF is the world's first, mass produced 100% electric family car, and will be manufactured in Sunderland from 2013.