Waitrose checks out first rapid charging point for electric cars

Posted at May 15, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on Waitrose checks out first rapid charging point for electric cars

UK electric vehicle charging point developer supplier Chargemaster plc is launching its fast-charging POLAR network in Oxford today.

UK Transport Minister Norman Baker will be in attendance at the official opening today of the initial network of 64 charging points across the city and surrounding area.

A further 50+ charging points are slated to be installed in Oxford over the coming year, some of which will be rapid charging units that can fully charge any manufacturer’s electric car in around 20 minutes.

Within 40 minutes’ drive of Oxford, there are a further 100 charging points at locations such as Silverstone race track, Cheltenham and Warwick race courses and shopping centres in Milton Keynes and Bicester.

With one charging point per 2500 residents, Oxford will have a higher density than other electric vehicle hubs like Amsterdam and Paris, or UK cities like London or Cardiff.

With the largest per capita charging network in Europe, Oxford is being billed as a ‘centre of excellence’ for electric vehicles and will also see the launch of Hertz’s On Demand electric car sharing club in the coming weeks.

Chargemaster and Hertz On Demand have signed a memorandum of understanding to launch the service in Oxford, which will make ten Nissan LEAFs available to book online by the hour, day or week from street locations, university campus car parks, local car parks and local employers.

“We believe that this is an good way to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles by giving drivers an opportunity to try out the technology,” says Chargemaster chief executive David Martell.

The effort to bring an electric vehicle support network to Oxford has been supported by the local county and city councils and Oxford Brookes University.

“This fantastic investment in Oxford’s low-carbon future brings electric cars within reach for thousands of [local] people,” says Councillor John Tanner. “The POLAR network is a vote of confidence in Oxford’s future prosperity.”

POLAR is the UK’s first privately funded national network of charging points and plans to rollout to 100 of the country’s largest towns and cities by next year.

Meanwhile, rival charging network POD Point is reportedly also launching a UK-wide pay-as-you-go scheme.

POD Point currently has a London-wide charging network but plans to have 620 charging points available nationwide by the end of the year and as many as 2000 by the end of 2013.

The London-based company has now shipped more than 2500 charging points, claiming to have overtaken US rival Coulomb Technologies, and has been selected as an approved partner for Toyota.

“We have seen exponential growth in both exports and UK charge point installation in the last two years,” says CEO Erik Fairbairn. “Approved partnerships such as the one with Toyota Motor Europe cement POD Point’s position as the leading provider of charge points across Europe.”

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Related stories:
GE unveils new networked electric vehicle recharging system (30-Apr)
Norway laps up 1000 Nissan LEAFs in six months (30-Apr)
Gamesa and Toyota join forces on electric car rollout in Spain (25-Apr)
Renault launches ‘baby’ electric vehicle in UK (16-Apr)

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