A partnership of Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) manufacturers have joined forces through the European Union's TEN-T programme to create a multi-standard and inter-operable charging network through the United Kingdom and Ireland.
As well as helping to finance the scheme, the consortium is providing other members of the project with the benefit of its extensive experience in the BEV field.
This is the first time leading BEV companies Renault, Nissan, BMW and Volkswagen have united to accelerate the growth of EV charging infrastructure, seen as a key enabler towards making zero-emission mobility a market reality. The project, managed by Zero Carbon Futures in North East England also draws on the network expertise of ESB, one of Ireland's foremost energy company and leader of a previous TEN-T project completed this summer, and Newcastle University.
When complete, the UK Rapid Charge Network (RCN) will comprise more than 70 multi standard rapid chargers covering some 1,100km of major trunk routes and providing EV-friendly links to five seaports and five international airports.
Running on two priority road axis on the mainland, the UK RCN will link major ports and cities including Stranraer, Liverpool, Holyhead, Birmingham, Felixstowe, Leeds and Kingston upon Hull while there will also be networks embracing Dublin, Ireland and Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Significantly, the rapid chargers are the latest state-of-the-art multi-standard units and are compatible with cars using 44kW CCS, 44kW CHAdeMO or 43kW AC systems. This will ensure that EV drivers travelling in the UK can undertake long journeys secure in the knowledge that they will never be far from a rapid charger.
Ten rapid chargers have been already installed with a further 28 sites soon to be commissioned.
The UK RCN is part of the European Union-financed Trans European Transport Network (TEN-T) and represents a substantial partnership investment of €7,358,000, half of which is being funded by the EU.
A significant portion of the BEV manufacturers' contribution to the overall costs will be used to fund a research program, led by Newcastle University. This will aim to confirm the benefits of such an advanced inter-operable EV rapid charging network.
Strategic information gathered from users, including customer charging behaviour and changes in mobility patterns, will help plan the roll-out future rapid charging infrastructure in member states across Europe.