Nissan And Ecotricity Electrify The UK’s Motorways

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Green energy producer Ecotricity’s fast charge points will be provided by the Japanese automaker, Nissan. Ecotricity’s vision is an electric superhighway in England that spans from London to Edinburgh, providing charging stations along the route to help push electric cars to their full capacity. The move signals a big step forward in the deployment of electric cars, and the fact that Nissan is at the forefront of that push is a good sign for them.

Nissan To Make Charging Stations

This new generation of super-fast chargers will allow motorists to drive the length of England without having to get off the highway, a point that had always been brought up by detractors of the electric car. (Top Gear presenters come to mind in this regard).

Nissan is currently installing these quick-charge stations strategically along what is being billed as the Electric Highway. The company is focusing on making the charging network a more realistic experience for the modern driver by placing 50 kW DC fast-charge points which let EVs recharge about 80% of its full charge in just under thirty minutes. The charge time could be faster or slower depending on the make and model of the car and also how much charge the battery is currently holding.

Nissan has installed the EVSE units in parking areas at Welcome Break motorway service stations in South Mimms (M25/A1), Oxford (M40) and Hopwood Park (M42). This past July, phase one of the Electric Highway was completed, linking the cities of London, Manchester and Exeter. Phase two should be completed later this year as Nissan brings the “top up” zones to each Welcome Break station in the UK.

What’s more is that these charging stations are free to use for those who register for a smartcard. The future looks brighter already, thanks to Nissan.

Long-Distance Electric Car Travel Becomes A Reality

These strategic points are geographically positioned to assist electric motoring much in the way that gas stations allow long-distance travel along highways today. While it may not seem like an unexpected move, the fact that it is happening so quickly and that Nissan is in charge (no pun intended) of the project is turning some heads.

Nissan is certainly putting its eggs well and truly in the EV basket. With this new development, car makers who aren’t already following suit and preparing for the electric revolution in the UK could soon find themselves lagging by the wayside. Nissan wants to be to EVs what Toyota is to hybrids. It’s a bold, multi-billion dollar gamble, and it’s not clear whether it will pay off or not.

After all, Nissan themselves could also be caught out. Many automakers are betting that the world is not quite ready for full electric vehicles, and are instead focusing on plug-in hybrids. Personally, I think the latter is the way to go until battery and recharging technology can provide the energy density and rapid recharging to compete and best fuel-powered vehicles.

What do you think? Tell us in the comment section below.

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