Ecotricity and GRIDSERVE announce new partnership to power up the Electric Highway

Green Britain flag with Ecotricity and Gridserve logos.

Big news today from the Electric Highway – we’ve teamed up with Gridserve and Hitachi.

They’ve bought 25% of the Highway and are making £30m available for a massive upgrade program.

We’re replacing all of our current 50kW pumps with modern kit, contactless payment as standard. That work has begun and should be mostly done by summer.

The new 50kW pumps can charge two cars at once and since most of our current pumps have two parking bays per pump – we’ll pretty much double capacity. We’ve had these double parking spaces since the beginning, the idea was to provide space for the next car waiting to use the pump – not anymore. It’s a great outcome from the advance of pump technology.

The second element of the plan is a whole bunch of 350kW High Powered Chargers (HPC) – between 6 and 12 pumps in each location.

All of this new hardware will run on Gridserve’s back end and be supported through their 24/7 service centre. Another significant upgrade.

I’m really looking forward to this. We’ve been looking for the right partner for over a year – the pandemic got in the way a bit. This is exactly what the Highway needs to enable it to play its role in the next phase of the electrification of Britain’s cars.

It’s ten years old this summer, we started it when there were just a handful of cars on the road and charging was at 7kW (3 pin plug standard).

Things have changed massively since then – 200k electric cars are on the roads now, 10% of sales were electric last year – there must be 50 models to choose from, range is up to 300 miles, charging is at 350kW and cost to buy is converging rapidly with the fossil versions.

Perhaps most importantly our government have set 2030 as the date by when new fossil cars will not be allowed to be sold – marking the end of the fossil car era. In just 20 years we’ll have gone from a handful of early adopter cars (and a slightly crazy idea) – to a complete transformation.

Electrifying Transport is one of the big three changes we need to make to tackle the Climate Crisis – Energy, Transport and Food being the big three. We’re making progress. Not yet fast enough, but the pieces of the puzzle are there.

And it’s not just the climate that benefits from this electrification of vehicles – the air we breathe, especially in towns and cities will change fundamentally – right now 40k people a year die early due to air pollution mostly from cars. 100s of thousands more suffer ill health. I never understood as a kid how it was OK to have all these machines burning and polluting the air we breathed – why it was allowed. Soon it won’t be.