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National Highways invest to support EV drivers

A multi-million-pound investment from National Highways is designed to support EV drivers across the UKs motorway network.

The programme will see rapid chargers installed across the motorway network where the grid supply is not sufficient. The government-owned organisation plans to invest in Energy Storage Systems – essentially giant battery packs – for service stations where the grid supply is not enough for rapid charging infrastructure, providing reassurance for EV drivers on longer journeys.

These rapid chargers are part of Government’s vision for the rapid charge point network in England which set the goal of around 6,000 high powered chargers on the motorway network by 2035. By storing energy in quiet periods, ESSs then provide rapid high-power charging at busy times.

With the growth in demand for high powered charge points comes pressure to provide the power to supply these, especially at the furthest reaches of the Strategic Road Network (SRN).

With the investment of £11M National Highways is currently discussing the move with prospective suppliers and plans to install the energy storage systems, which will connect to the motorway services operators’ charge points, within the next two years.

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 rapid charge points network, we hope to increase EV drivers’ confidence for all types of journeys, both long and short.

“These new Energy Storage Systems and the rapid chargers they supply will 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 Minister Trudy Harrison said: “Our vision is to have one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world and we want charging to be quick and easy for all drivers.

“This additional investment will ease drivers’ range anxiety as we continue to power up the green revolution.”

National Highways has previously demonstrated its commitment to electric vehicles but is among a host of measures it’s taking to improve air quality and tackle carbon emissions from road transport as the UK takes steps to become a zero-carbon economy by 2050.

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