National Highways has announced it is supporting electric vehicle drivers with a multi-million-pound investment into new high-powered charging infrastructure.
The government-owned organisation has awarded the £8m Energy Storage Systems – essentially giant battery packs – contract to Ameresco, who will upgrade seven motorway service areas where the grid supply is not enough for high-powered charging infrastructure.
Supported by Costain, it’s hoped the move will help bring an end to ‘charge anxiety’ by improving access to chargepoints across England’s motorways at sites with poor national grid connectivity for EV drivers.
The priority sites include:
- Beaconsfield on the M40
- Corley on the M6 Northbound
- Clacket Lane on the M25, both Eastbound and Westbound
- Maidstone on the M20
- Taunton on the M5 Northbound
- Tebay on the M6 Northbound
The Energy Storage Systems support high-powered chargers with the aim that all motorway service areas will have at least six high-powered, open access chargepoints by the end of 2023.
Malcolm Wilkinson, Head of Energy for National Highways, said: “We are working differently and innovating to support the switch to zero emission journeys.
“Whilst we have limited control over the number of petrol and diesel cars on the network, by supporting the expansion of the high-powered chargepoints network, we hope to increase EV drivers’ confidence for all types of journeys, both long and short.
“These new Energy Storage Systems and the high-powered chargers they supply will help ensure that motorists are unlikely to be caught without somewhere to charge, which is a fantastic move for drivers and the environment accelerating the speed in which we transition to new electric vehicles.”
Transport Decarbonisation minister Jesse Norman said: “Expanding the UK’s rapid charging network is essential if more people are to switch to electric vehicles, and should make charging cheaper and more convenient.
“Drivers today are never more than 25 miles away from a rapid chargepoint anywhere on England’s motorways and major A roads. But this news marks another innovative step to making sure that rapid charging is accessible and reliable for drivers.”
Mark Apsey, Managing Director, Ameresco Ltd, added: “We are excited to be working with National Highways installing Energy Storage Systems across the UK’s motorways for the roll-out of high-speed EV chargers. These systems will facilitate the uptake of EVs by creating the infrastructure needed for people to switch with confidence.
“Transport accounts for around 27% of UK GHG emissions and it is imperative we switch as quickly as possible if the UK is to meet its target to decarbonise by 2050.”
(Picture – National Highways)