National Grid planning electric car charging network

Generic photo of an electric car charging point at Chester Services.

The National Grid, the body responsible for the UK's electricity infrastructure, is reportedly planning a network of 50 high power electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the UK.

It plans to place the 350kW charging stations on the UK's motorway network, potentially putting 90% of the UK's motorists within 50 miles of a charging point. Each charging station could host 50 individual charging points. At current prices, the network may cost around £1bn to install.

With 350kW chargers, a driver could recharge their EV in as little as five minutes, although this depends on the vehicle's battery capacity. National Grid will wire chargers directly into the high-voltage transmission network, which runs close to the motorway network. By avoiding local grids, it will prevent excess drain and power shortages in the surrounding areas. This may be vital as EV uptake increases, and with potential electric freight vehicles like the Tesla Semi also needing charge points.

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Matthew Trevaskis, head of electric vehicles at the Renewable Energy Association, said:

"This is an important milestone for the development of a strategic, accessible, and reliable electric vehicle charging network in the UK. National Grid will play an increasingly crucial role in EV rollout and it is excellent to see some big-picture thinking from them on this issue. It is now up to Government and regulators to build on the excellent work done to date and to implement documents such as the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan."

Charging points may soon become a mandatory feature of large petrol stations and motorway service areas, in order to meet national air quality and CO2 targets. Shell and BP are among the fuel companies already committed to placing EV charging stations at many of their forecourts.

By Andrew Evans

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