A joint EU project is now giving electric vehicles drivers access to a widely-spread charging network across the UK.
Alternative fuelled vehicles demand grew 40 percent last year in the UK, securing the biggest ever market share of 2.8 percent for a year. Plug-in hybrids experienced solid growth, with volumes more than doubling, while purely electric vehicles saw an uplift of around 50 percent. Despite the trend, the numbers are still low compared to the total market, so more efforts have to be made for sales of green cars to be boosted significantly. A couple of years ago, some major automakers joined their forces in a project under the European Union’s Trans-European Transport Network program, to create a vast charging network throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Nissan, BMW, VW and Renault committed in 2014 to accelerate the growth of EV charging infrastructure, seen as a key enabler towards making zero-emission mobility a market reality. Now completed, the UK Rapid Charge Network has 74 stations, covering over 1,100 km of popular motorways and dual carriageways, capable of charging a typical electric vehicle’s battery to 80 percent in less than 30 minutes, making long-distance, cross-border journeys a more realistic prospect for EV drivers.
According to a study commissioned around the project and undertaken by Newcastle University, 72 percent of EV drivers said that they would travel further with the introduction of rapid charge points. The 7.4-million-euro investment in the Rapid Charge Network was part-funded by the European Union’s Trans European Transport Network program and represents a portion of a wider pan-European investment of 26.3 million dollars that has been implemented in four regions: Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bavaria, Zagreb (Central European Green Corridors); France (Corri-Door); Denmark, Sweden, Germany (Greening-NEAR); UK and Ireland (Rapid Charge Network). The European Union has targeted a 40 percent reduction in all greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030. The electrification of passenger vehicle transport is a crucial part of the strategy for achieving that goal, as well as reducing oil dependency and improving air quality in urban areas.