A total of 4,000 electric charging points are to be provided in approximately 100 towns across the UK in the roll-out of the country’s first privately funded network.
The electric vehicle charging network is called Polar and will be launched in September by British company Chargemaster, one of the leading providers of charging infrastructure in Europe.
The 4,000-strong recharging bay network is scheduled for completion by the end of 2012. In each of the 100 towns and cities, Polar will operate around 40 publicly available charging bays.
Chargemaster says that will provide a core strategic nationwide infrastructure enabling electric cars to be bought and used in many towns that previously were not practically equipped for electric cars.
The 4,000 unit network is designed to build on and complement the Government supported Plugged in Places (PiPs) programme which is focused on eight locations in the UK.
Polar will initially launch in over 50 towns without full PiP support over the next nine months. Chargemaster with the support of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) is working with each PiP to ensure interoperability for electric vehicle drivers right across the country, enabling them to access all charging facilities even when signed up to a different network.
The initial rollout over the first nine months will involve towns and cities around the country including: Basingstoke, Bristol, Cardiff, Bournemouth, Cheltenham, Crawley, Derby, Eastbourne, Exeter, Gloucester, Guildford, High Wycombe, Maidenhead, Maidstone, Newbury, Plymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, Reading, Rochester, Slough, Staines Southend-on-Sea, St. Albans, Southampton, Swansea, Swindon, Taunton, Telford, Warwick and Wokingham, amongst others.
The company says that by creating the most comprehensive charging infrastructure in the world it is expected that motor manufacturers will increasingly use the UK as the launch markets for their new ultra low carbon car models.
The Polar scheme is entirely privately funded. Electric vehicle drivers will gain access to the charging network by paying a monthly membership subscription of about £20 and 90p each time a charging unit is used, which will deliver enough charge for up to 100 miles of motoring. David Martell, chief executive of Chargemaster, who launched traffic information business Trafficmaster several years ago, said: “For the UK to lead the way in low carbon motoring there is a real need for a comprehensive, targeted, safe and accessible electric vehicle infrastructure across all major towns in the country.
‘For the British consumer to feel comfortable with switching to electric vehicles, it is plainly obvious that a targeted and comprehensive nationwide charging network is necessary. Whilst PIPs have provided a good start to this, in order to fulfil the anticipated demand and national coverage, we believe that the private sector needs to take a leading role in realising this objective.”