Utility firm National Grid is examining plans for the installation of superfast electric vehicle chargers along British motorways, that would feed directly from the grid.

Fast (or rapid) chargers are already used across the UK, but there has been a lack of ‘superfast’ chargers. The chargers would provide up to a huge 350kW of power, significantly reducing the amount of time drivers would have to spend charging their cars, as currently rapid chargers only go up to 120kW.

National Grid’s plans for ultra-rapid chargers will help to allay any fears from owners – or potential owners – of electric cars that there may not be able to charge their vehicles on a motorway.

Currently it takes roughly 20 to 40 minutes to use a rapid charger on an electric vehicle, but National Grid’s chargers could reduce this to between five and 12 minutes – a similar time to refuelling a petrol or diesel car.

The company told the Financial Times that it had currently identified 50 “strategic sites” for the chargers. The locations outlined will mean that 90 per cent of UK drivers will be within 50 miles of one of these ultra-rapid chargers.

Graeme Cooper, project director of electric cars at National Grid, told the Financial Times: “It’s the infrastructure that’s key, it’s about future-proofing the network so it has the capacity to charge cars as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

National Grid estimates that the cost of the infrastructure would cost between £500m and £1bn – or 60p per driver if each motorist shouldered the cost.

Analysts have also said that using chargers connected to the network could also help prevent local power shortages, too.

Ted Welford


February 20, 2018