Range anxiety for electric vehicle owners in the UK may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to Gridserve’s openly committing to upgrade its highway facilities. They will be equipped to include over 50 high powered Electric Hubs, 300 rapid chargers in what the company is calling the Gridserve Electric Highway.
Gridserve had earlier acquired the Electric Highway charging network from Ecotricity. Gridserve will now commence on extensive renovation of the facilities included in the purchase, many of which were deteriorating and a source of pain for electric vehicle users.
The renovation will upgrade all 300 60 kW and above, affecting over 150 locations. New six to twelve 350 kW chargers will be added to the Electric Hubs, which drivers can access at motorway service stations all over the UK.
The upgrading and renovation will consume more than 100 million pounds and at least 10 hubs are expected to be operational by the end of this year.
Demonstrating its seriousness, Gridserve had commissioned the first hub at Rugby Service Station this year, where it installed a dozen 350 kW Gridserve branded chargers. It is the template that other hubs will follow, as they are rolled out in places such as Thurrock, Exeter, Reading and Cornwall.
After the acquisition, Gridserve had immediately installed about 80 rapid chargers, targeting over 50 locations.
CEO Toddington Harper explains why his company is restructuring the charging network; “We just need to give people something that’s really simple to understand. It’s a single brand; it’s the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway.”
Gridserve will charge users of the Electric Hubs 30 pence per kW and that means about 15 pounds to add 200 miles of driving range. For the Electric Forecourts, drivers will pay 24 pounds per kWh or about 12 pounds to charge.
Customers will be able to find the closest Gridserve chargers using its new interactive map that will show all the chargers at each location, including information as to which ones are free and other details about the station. It is integrated with the popular Zap-Map platform for easy access.
Part of the fund for the renovation project is coming from The Rise Fund, a global investment venture. Some of it will also come from Hitachi, which put 10 million pounds into Gridserve.