Network brings long-distance electric motoring to millions

The ‘Rapid Charge Network’ spans major trunk routes across the British Isles
• New 30-minute-charge network enables EV drivers to go further, faster
• European Union and four major vehicle manufacturers co-funded the project

The days of electric vehicles (EVs) being restricted to towns and cities are over for thousands of drivers thanks to the completion of a new 1,100km charging network installed across the British Isles through the Rapid Charge Network.

At its extremities, the European Union and vehicle manufacturer-funded network stretches from Stranraer in Scotland to Suffolk in the East of England, from Hull in Yorkshire to Holyhead in north-west Wales, connecting with Belfast in Northern Ireland and Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.

The Network’s 74 state-of-the-art rapid chargers are capable of charging a typical electric vehicle’s battery to 80% in less than 30 minutes, making long-distance, cross-border journeys a more realistic prospect for EV drivers.

In addition to covering over 1,100km of popular motorways and dual carriageways, the Rapid Charge Network connects busy transport hubs such as airports and ferry ports to allow drivers to take their EVs beyond domestic borders and onto routes in mainland Europe.

Olivier Paturet, Zero Emission Strategy, Nissan Europe and lead partner for the project, said: “The Rapid Charge Network is the backbone of a UK-wide electric vehicle infrastructure. Now motorists can go further, faster in their EVs, we’re confident our network will accelerate awareness and uptake of these vehicles by consumers and businesses across the country.”

According to a study commissioned by the project undertaken by Newcastle University, 72% of EV drivers said that they would travel further with the introduction of rapid charge points. The new Rapid Charge Network meets this demand, enabling motorists to drive further, faster.

Carl Sanderson, BMW i and Mobility Services, added: “Charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is a major factor in the success of e-mobility. The Rapid Charge Network enables customers to use their EVs and drive them across the country. This proves that electric mobility has already become a viable and sustainable alternative to conventional vehicles.”

The new Rapid Charge Network was implemented by Sunderland-based Zero Carbon Futures to meet increasing demand for public charge points and to encourage more motorists to make the switch to plug-in power.

The €7.4 million investment in the Rapid Charge Network was part-funded by the European Union’s Trans European Transport Network programme and by four major EV manufacturers: Nissan, BMW, Renault and Volkswagen alongside ESB, Ireland’s foremost energy company. ESB in Ireland and Ecotricity in the UK and are the network operators, providing power to all of the Rapid Charge Network charging stations.

Ben Fletcher, Electric Vehicle Product Manager at Groupe Renault UK, said: “Electric vehicle sales are rising strongly as vehicle technologies and the nationwide charging infrastructure take major strides forward, facilitating cost-effective local and long-distance motoring. Investments like the Rapid Charge Network are vital for maintaining the momentum and encouraging more motorists to go electric.”

The UK and Ireland Rapid Charge Network is part of a wider pan-European investment of €26.3 million that has been implemented in four regions:


• Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bavaria, Zagreb (Central European Green Corridors)
• France (Corri-Door)
• Denmark, Sweden, Germany (Greening-NEAR)
• UK and Ireland (Rapid Charge Network)

The European Union has targeted a 40% reduction in all greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030. The electrification of passenger vehicle transport is a crucial part of the strategy for achieving that goal, as well as reducing oil dependency and improving air quality in urban areas.

A spokesperson from Volkswagen UK said: “We, and our electric vehicle customers, will welcome the development of a network of multi-standard charge points. Each charge point on the network is compatible with all standard EVs on sale today, taking away the element of confusion for drivers and providing reassurance that they can rapid charge regardless of make or model.”

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For reference:


• Research commissioned by the project reveals that 68% of drivers said that they would not have bought their electric vehicle without the availability of rapid charge points and over 90% of those surveyed said that the availability of rapid charging increased their likelihood of purchasing an EV as their next vehicle.
• Locations of the Rapid Charge Network installations reflect the needs identified in consumer research: 95% of EV drivers stated their preference for charge points to be positioned at service stations along major trunk routes.
• Each installation includes the latest state-of-the-art multi-standard charge points that are compatible with the vast majority of EVs on sale today providing outlets with 44kW CCS, 44kW CHAdeMO or 43kW AC systems.
• More information on the project is available at: www.rapidchargenetwork.com

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The Rapid Charge Network is supported by major industry partners, including: