Ecotricity sells Electric Highway charging network to Gridserve
Green energy supplier Ecotricity has sold its UK electric vehicle charging network for an undisclosed sum.
The Stroud-headquartered company’s so-called Electric Highway has been acquired by sustainable energy business Gridserve.
The company, which is based in Iver, Buckinghamshire, said it would replace all the existing pumps on the network with new technology, including contactless payment, following the deal.
The Electric Highway was established in 2011 and enabled early adopters of electric cars to drive the length and breadth of Britain.
Last month, the highway’s first high-power charging facility on the UK’s motorway network was opened – at Moto’s new flagship Rugby services off the M6.
Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, said the Electric Highway needed access to “serious funding”, which Gridserve could offer.
“We’ve reached an interesting point in the electric car revolution – exponential growth is just round the corner, while the technology for charging has evolved into one ruling standard, offering charging speeds that are almost on par with fossil powered ones, where you top up once every week or two,” he said.
“At the same time, the Electric Highway needs a growth spurt to make sure it stays ahead of driver demand and continues to play its key role as the network that delivers more miles a year for UK drivers than any other.”
Ecotricity said the sale would enable it to push forward with a number of projects, including solar and battery storage schemes, and expand its ‘sky mining’ facility – a carbon capture and storage process that turns atmospheric carbon dioxide into lab-ground diamonds known as Skydiamond.
The company said it was also working on Britain’s first Green Gasmill – a process of making ‘natural gas’ for the grid from grass.
Toddington Harper, chief executive of Gridsevrve, added: “It’s a real honour for Gridserve to have been chosen by Ecotricity as the organisation to take the Electric Highway forward in its next phase.
“Our purpose is to deliver sustainable energy and move the needle on climate change, and the upgraded network will provide the conference for millions more to make the successful transition to electric vehicles in the earliest possible timeframes.”
In a decade, charging has evolved from three-pin plugs with 7kW to state-of-the-art 350kW chargers, which are capable of providing 100 miles of energy in around five minutes. The typical range of a car battery has also grown from 80 miles to more than 300.
According to Ecotricity, there are now more than half a million plug-in cars on UK roads, with 7% of new vehicle sales being pure electric.
Many of the world’s largest car manufacturers have announced dates for the final production of fossil powered cars, while the government has confirmed a ban on the sale of new petrol or diesel vehicles by 2030.
In May, a visit by Elon Musk to the UK fuelled further rumours he is still mulling a factory opening in Britain.
Speculation over a UK Tesla factory started in 2020, after the US tycoon reportedly flew into Britain to visit a number of sites, including one in Somerset, amid potential plans to build a 90-acre electric car plant.