New Green Jack New Green Jack

71 responses to “Today we launched our Electric Highway”

    • John


      Very interesting stuff. But how do you deal with the ‘Jeremy Clarkson’ factor and the negative perceptions his show compounds up towards EVs?


        • Dale Vince

          Hi John, for the most part our way to deal with Mr C and his electric car hype, is just to ignore him and get on with it.

          Many people can see it’s just theatre (from him and the team), for the most part….:)

          The EV revolution is coming. It just suits some people to rail against it – bit like windmills..:)


            • Tess Guilding

              Dear Dale,

              We have a Nissan Leaf which we charge using solar PV panels on our roof, with Ecotricity as our supplier for years now.
              We live in North Devon and we were delighted to discover the rapid charging point at Sedgemoor services, northbound and those at Michaelwood serviices, north- and southbound.

              However, we cannot make a round trip to visit our grandchidren in Bristol and Gloucester because there is no southbound charging point at Sedgemnoor services, nor at Taunton Deane and Michaelwood to Umberleigh is beyond the range of the Leaf.

              We understand that these service stations are Road Chef owned, not Welcome Break but please would you go back and negotiate with Road Chef and install a rapid charging point at either southbound services? Remind them that EV owners will spend time and money on their premises, whilst the car is recharging!
              Without this, South West EV owners are effectively trapped on the peninsula, which is very frustrating.

              Thank you for your help and keep up the good work.


                • David Peilow

                  Hi Tess,

                  If it helps to plug the gap, you can charge your Leaf at the Castle, Taunton while having a bite to eat at their restaurant Brazz.

                  A Leaf owner has already called in there, so they are ready for you!


                • Adam

                  Hi Tess I just wanted to say how awesome your setup sounds! Did you document your installation (assuming it’s ‘homebrew’) or have any sources for more info?

                    • T.Guilding

                      Dear Adam,

                      We didn’t document the PV installation particularly: it was just part of our low-energy new build 2 years ago. I’m still waiting for a true rapid-charge network to enable us to travel to Bristol or Gloucester and back, charging both northwards and southwards, withoiut spending hours kicking our heels at motorway service stations.

                      Best wishes,


    • Derek

      Well done Dale.

      I have inspected your charge point at Michaelwood Services today, but although your map indicates it is operational the signs and charge point were all sealed over with tape.

      I expect it will be open soon.

      I have a electric car ordered for early 2012 delivery sod then hope to sign up for your charge points



        • Dale Vince

          Hi Derek, I think there was just a delay in removing the ‘wrapping’ to make sure that South Mimms services today was the first to be unveiled.

          Michaelwood is live, I was there yesterday (with the Sun of all people) with the Nemesis and we plugged in.

          Good luck with the EV in 2012.


            • derek

              Just another point. Can you tell me the reason for the solar panel on the charging point? Maybe to illuminate the signs? I think it was only 1 panel so generation of 235 watts max.


                • Dale Vince

                  Hi Derek, the panel is mostly to provide power to the post itself, for it’s internal electronics. It will put some power into a slow charge on a sunny day though…:)

                  It’s other function is to flag up the green energy dimension to the charging post – it’s a technology flag.


    • Kingsley Igbinosa

      Hi Dale, I highly commend your vison and drive to put all these polluters and greedy oil companies out of business. I believe and totally agree that the power of choice should be with the masses, and not governments and the multi-national corporations. Electric cars and alternative energy is the wave of the future. The sooner we harness this limitless energy source, the better it will be for all of us. Not only is it very good for our environments, it also empowers the masses by granting them control over these basic goods like energy source for their cars and homes. Thank you very much for your foresight and innovations. I am working doublely hard in Ireland to take this vision to Nigeria, and Africa as a whole. The future is now!!!…………………………I will stay connected to you and people with like minds to make my dream for Africa a reality.

        • Dale Vince

          Thanks Kingsley, and good luck with your work in Africa.

    • Jon

      Dale, how many kW is the fast charge socket?

        • Dale Vince

          Hi Jon, it’s 32A from a three phase supply – not sure on the voltage (and therefore kW) – but I’ll ask Paul to find out and confirm for you.


            • paul

              Hi Jon – funnily enough I was asked that question on twitter today – they’re IEC62196 (7pin) so can go up to 64kW


                • David


                  IEC62196 goes up to 44kW but not all installations are capable of that.

                  Dale said theirs are 32A which means they are 22kW versions.

                    • Jon

                      Cool – so a 2 hour charge is quite realistic then.

                      Now I just need an electric car! 🙂

                • Tim Andrews

                  Hi Paul,
                  Just picking up on the technology here.

                  I’ve a Nissan Leaf and recently signed up to your Electric Highway. I’d like to do the journey from Northamptonshire to Bristol using a fast charge (30 mins) at Michaelwood services part way through the journey. However, I’m finding it difficult to get information on the type of connector I can use with my car and the Ecotricity charge point. Can you shed any light on this, I don’t really want to be waiting several hours to be able to make the journey!


                    • David


                      You are better off fast charging at Oxford Nissan, as charging at Michaelwood is only abke to provide 16A and thus you will be the 8 hours.

                    • paul

                      Hiya Tim,

                      Sadly the Nissan Leaf isn’t capable of taking full advantage of the fast charge facility due to its onboard charger.

                      I hear that might change at some point.

                      The connector to use is a Mennekes to J1772 – you’ll probably find a wealth of info at Leaftalk Forums if you’ve not been there already…


    • Kevin Sharpe

      “the world’s first national charging network for electric cars” really? what about the national network that was used to drive an electric car end to end in May?

        • Dale Vince

          Hi Kevin, that’s a National network really…?

          I think that’s stretching it a bit.

          To be honest.


            • Me

              At least it stretches properly into scotland, unlike ecotricity which can’t be bothered.

            • Kevin Sharpe

              15 sites live across the UK supporting 13A, 32A, and 70A charging. 50 more sites in the next month, and 1000 more within 12 months…. yes, that’s a national network.

                • Paul Churchley

                  If only they were usable by everyone like the Ecotricity ones are.

                  BTW where are these 1000 coming from? That is just an aspiration. I suspect you will get no where near that many installed.

                  Also, they are just sockets… the EV owner still needs to provide his/her own EVSE to connect. The Ecotricity ones use IEC 62196 and so owners will need just a suitable cable.

                  I know which one I would prefer to have and that is the Ecotricity network,

                    • Kevin Sharpe

                      Paul, as we have discussed before, the ZCW Charging Stations today support one BS1363 13A “UK” and one or two IEC 60309 32A “Commando” sockets for simultaneous charging of two or three vehicles.

                      All ZCW sites are in the process of being changed to IEC 62196 sockets now that the UK government has finally settled on a standard.

                      Both IEC 60309 and IEC 62196 require drivers to purchase cables to use the Charging Stations.

                • Dale Vince

                  Hi Kevin, it’s not numbers of charging posts that determines if a network is national – it’s location. Surely you can see that.

                  Our 23 locations will have an annual footfall of 80 million people, they’re on the motorway network – the really big roads that most people use to get somewhere. These are not destination charging stations, they’re all on the way somewhere.

                  There is a big difference.

                  Anyway, we should be working together. Is your electricity from renewables? it probably is because that’s what put’s the zero carbon in the equation – but if not maybe we can help you with that.

                  There may well be other things we can do, we’re up for that.


    • Paul D

      I would like to see Robert Llewellyns Youtube series ‘Fully Charged’ on a free to air TV channel at the same time slot as Top Gear. Maybe on Channel 5 or Dave.

      I think he has done an excellent job and he is able to present the technology in a way that most people can understand.

      BTW I thought the BBC news report had a negative flavour.

    • Paul Churchley

      Finally there is someone who has taken the bull by the horns and created something that will benefit all EV drivers. Thank you.

      I have a Nissan Leaf and although I will not be able to use the rapid charge capability of your network just yet I think that your initiative will do a great deal of good for the uptake of EVs for the future.

      As for if it is the first national network or not… yours is the first truly national network that everyone can use and the first that is available to use without having to stay at expensive hotels.

      Thank you

        • Kevin Sharpe

          Paul, ZCW Charging Stations are available at Hotels/B&B/Restaurants/Pubs and the charging is either included in the nights stay, price of food, price of drink, etc. The sites range from very simple (budget) locations to 5* so that everyone can find a solution to meet their needs.

            • Paul Churchley

              Yes, they are of benefit and I am sure people will use them but they are often in out of the places or require a stay in what is sometimes an expensive hotel rather negating the savings made by using an EV for the trip.

              The ZCW charge points is not really a network yet. Right now you have 15 and some more coming along. It has a long way to go.

                • David

                  To be fair, that’s 12 more than Ecotricity’s at the moment. Not that they are both a good thing. I’d like to see them both grow exponentially.

                  Many ZCW sites are located adjacent to junctions on the M1, M3, M4, M5, M6, M8, M20, M42, A1, A9 and A30. Others are more out of the way, as they are “destination” locations. There are a mix of 3, 4 and 5 star hotels, B&Bs and pubs.

                  Here is an example of one of your “expensive”, “out of the way” places: I had a burger and chips there for £8.

                    • Paul Churchley

                      David, you can quote what you like. The fact of the matter is that Ecotricity have stolen the ZCW thunder. You and ZCW are desperately trying to justify your efforts when the fact of the matter is that the ZCW network just isn’t very useful regardless of you quoting the few cheap locations.

                      Ecotricity have done something ZCW hasn’t been able to do: introduce a network that is actually useful to EV drivers now and will become a proper national network over the coming months.

                    • David

                      Paul, if you want to spend 8 hours recharging every 80 miles in a service station then be my guest. The reality is that we need to wait for cars to come along with three phase charging for it to be genuinely useful to normal people – and that is not until late next year.

                      Otherwise I’ll just repost Kevin’s link from above and let the reader judge for themselves how useful the ZCW network is.


                      Remember, this is a charity effort that has been done with many people giving their time for free.

                    • Dale Vince

                      Hi David, I think you’re wrong (with respect) to say that we need to wait for three phase able cars to come along late next year – before electric cars will be useful.

                      On the one hand I think waiting for technology to improve is a mistake – it does so constantly. And we need to get things moving, we need to break the range anxiety mindset.

                      And on the other hand our network is all ready providing three phase. Having it in the world before three phase cars, is a good thing. One side of the chicken and egg conundrum dealt with.

                      The charity nature of the ZCW initiative is surely not relevant – the point of discussion seems to be is it a national network – not is it being built by a nice bunch of people volunteering -which I don’t doubt it is by the way.

                      And our Electric Highway is any way free to use – this issue is not one of charity versus business.


    • Chris

      That’s fantastic news Dale. Is there an App for that?! One perhaps detailing locations on a map, distance from your current location, number of charging stations etc. ? Im sure TomTom would like to know where these are too 🙂

      With regards to Johns point about tackling the Jeremy Clarkson factor. We simply campaign to get modern day ecopreneur Dale Vince face to face with established EV/climate sceptic Jeremy Clarkson on the ‘star in a reasonably priced car’ feature! I would pay good money to see that stand off. They’ve had the minister for road safety on talking up speed cameras, so why not?

        • Dale Vince

          Hi Chris, there most definitely will be an app for that. It’s on our list. Will keep you posted.


    • David

      Hi Dale,

      I have some experience in rolling out national charging networks.

      Do you have any jobs going?


        • Dale Vince

          Hi David, not currently (no pun intended….:))


    • Tonia Buell


      Greetings from the United States and congratulations on launching your electric highway!

      It’s exciting to see International progress on electric vehicle charging. It’s good to know that we have a “sister” electric highway project across the pond. It confirms the importance of similar projects underway in the Pacific Northwest and throughout America.

      Best wishes for a successful e-hwy!

      Tonia Buell
      Washington State Department of Transportation

        • Dale Vince

          Thanks Tonia….:)

    • GrumpyCabbie

      Is the solar panal on the top in use or just for show? I appreciate it would not provide much power but a couple chargers in each location would all add up. I guess either way it shows the ‘green’ credentials of the charger, Ecotricity and the EVer.

      p.s. Any future plans to bring your network over towards the east of the UK? Even just along the M62 corridor?

        • Paul D

          I think solar charging stations would be an interesting market for Ecotricity to get into.

          Maybe working with companies and their car parking facilities.

        • Dale Vince

          Hi GrumpyCabbie (nice handle…:)), the solar panels do provide power to run the post itself (during the day obviously).

          And as you say, it does flag up the green credentials of the facility.

          All motorways are in scope, even in the East..:)


    • Jonny Holt

      Hello Dale,

      Well done! Another marketing coup and something the travelling public will one day regard as mundane and ordinary – the way it should be.

      How far north into Scotland do you intend to go? Should I presume that your long-proposed Lands End to John O’Groats jaunt in the Nemesis will be the deciding factor in the northernmost siting of a charging point?

      Best regards,


        • Dale Vince

          Hi Jonny, thanks for this.

          As you say, one day all this will just be mundane, and we’ll tell stories about the old style petrol stations…:)

          The most northern installation we’ll have in phase one is the Welcome Break service at Abingdon on the M74.

          We’ve plans to plug the gap to John O’Groats.

          And a kind offer from Kevin.


            • Kevin Sharpe

              What are your plans for the EV speed record and endurance run (Land’s End to John O Groats) that you planned when Nemesis was launched?

              Do you still aim to do End-to-End in less than 24hours?

                • Dale Vince

                  Hi Kevin, our plans are still in hand.

                  LeJOG probably first.

                  Speed record next, latest engineering view is 200 mph plus….. yikes

                  Any particular reason for asking?


                    • Kevin Sharpe

                      I’m returning to Scotland in the next couple of months and running with the prevailing winds from Lands End to John O’Groats should allow the Tesla to achieve a sub 30 hour time using the public HPC network..

                      Looking at Nemesis and your 22kW 3 Phase Charging Stations I suspect you are looking at a similar time…. might be an interesting competition 🙂

    • Ryan Johnson

      Hi Dale,

      I have been looking into this a lot and was looking at the M4 in Wales as the Goverment of Wales is looking at giving funding into this area but as yet nothink have come about. I had even contacted Welcome Break just over a year ago with the idea that you have done.

      I have also look at going to large blue chip companys and doing the same thing, ( how much does the package cost )

      I have also looked into a idea that some over the larger Ft100 share companys could look into off setting the carbon foot print by hiring or renting a wind turbine, its a great idea but I got stuck when I came to talking to the ( crown as for land at sea )

      I belive there are lots of roads people could take to help the world we live in but yet people in power are yet not looking to do as much as they can to help.

      I would like to hear your feedback when your free

      Many thanks Ryan

    • Chris

      Dale, will you have a stand about this and the Nemesis at Ecovelocity in September?

    • Chris

      Dale, will you have a stand about this and the Nemesis at Ecovelocity in September?

        • Paul D

          Ecovelocity is sponsored by EDF.
          Might be a problem??

        • Dale Vince

          Interesting question Chris.

          As Paul says it’s sponsored by EDF.

          As a result of that, the Nemesis will be there, but our people are ‘not allowed’ and not is any information on our Electric Highway.

          Seems a shame – EDF are of course all for a Green Britain and the greater good, aren’t they………


            • Kevin Sharpe

              fully agree Dale, it’s a real shame that EDF can’t see the bigger picture here….

    • Chris

      That’s a little hypocritical. At a sustainable motoring event a company which invests 1.6p of every £1 in new renewables gets exclusivity and headline sponsorship. Yet a company which invests 71.8p per £1 and starts a new national network of charging stations to boost EVs can’t even get a representative through the doors! I don’t see how a small Ecotricity stand will harm the mighty EDF.

      Do you think emailing the organisers will do any good?

        • Kevin Sharpe

          IMO emailing the organisers is worth a try…. we did something similar with the lack of charging for people using EV’s to travel to the event… didn’t get us the charging but did get us a commitment to include this in future….

            • GrumpyCabbie

              Am hoping to go and check out possible EV taxi vehicles.

              I can’t believe an EV event doesn’t provide EV charging points! lol

            • Chris

              I emailed Mr. Giles Brown – a nice man who replied swiftly 🙂

              If anyone is interested there is an 8page EV supplement in this Tuesdays (23rd) Independent.

    • Chris

      Dale, a friend just put me on to an interesting piece in this months ‘Stuff’ magazine about WiTricity and wireless charging. It talks about how the rapidly evolving technology is expected to be mainstream within 10 years. They also suggest that the 2nd generation Nissan Leaf will be fitted with this technology.

      Will you be making a call to WiTricity anytime soon to talk about wireless charging stations?

    • John Ironmonger

      In terms of a charging station map, have you seen Zap-Map? We are displaying points from both ZCW and Ecotricity (marked with green icons). There are well over 1000 individual charging units now displayed on the map – making it the most comprehensive and up to date map of its kind.

      If you know of any points that are not marked, do get in touch. We think both your networks are doing a great job in promoting EVs by helping to develop a widespread infrastructure to support them – keep it up!

    • Jonathan Hardman

      Dale, one extremely important point that you have missed out is that, yes it is cheaper to charge electric cars during night time as it is cheaper, however the UK as a whole is becoming a 24hr nation with increased internet capabilities and 24hr shopping leading to companies working 24hr’s a day.

      Fair enough at the start, i.e. now, charging your electric car is relatively cheap, but “if” electric cars do take off in the UK then obviously the demand for charging during the night time will increase, thus increasing the cost to charge your vehicle.

      The idea that the electric car now is thought of as “the only solution” is because there is very little demand for charging cars during the night. If everyone in the UK had an electric car and where charging their car during the night then the cost for charing would far out way the cost of your normal running costs for a fossil fueled car.

      I personally would like to hear your vision for the supple and demand of charing during the night time during the future.

      Many thanks,


        • Paul D

          I am not sure where you get the ‘costs’ from. My electricity is the same price no matter what time of day.
          The point is that the differences in pricing is an accountancy issue to try and balance load. Most tariffs that charge less at night also charge more during the day. eg. they want to encourage customers that have a 9 to 5 job and leave their homes empty during the day, to use electricity at night so that a power station doesn’t have to be shut down at night.

          The main issue regarding costs is fuel or in the case of wind farms, the capital, maintenance and decommissioning costs spread out over the life time of the project and how that is paid for via customer bills.

          In any case energy storage is coming along in leaps and bounds. BTW the total capacity of all the proposed offshore UK wind farms is enough to power all UK road transport, even after taking into account the load factor.

            • Jonathan Hardman

              Your missing the point Paul, it is the supply versus demand. I said above;

              “If everyone in the UK had an electric car and where charging their car during the night then the cost for charing would far out way the cost of your normal running costs for a fossil fueled car.”

              Your comment above doesn’t answer this point, you are merely restating what is only apprent at present, not what my point was or what will happen in the future.

              You have also ignored the fact that as I have already said, as demand increases, supply will increase thus increasing the cost of using electricity at night to charge your electric car as I have previously stated in my comment above.

              Again as I have previously stated;

              “I personally would like to hear your vision for the supply and demand of charing during the night time during the future.”



                • Paul D

                  My point(s) do address the point.

                  If there is more demand in the evening in the future then the special tariffs might be removed because the imbalance between night and day would have been removed. This however doesn’t affect the cost of the electricity, because in the case of those that are on the cheaper night tariff, their day time tariff will drop.

                  Will they pay more for their electricity??
                  Possibly, but not because renewables.
                  But many of those people probably use electricity at work for personal use, so get a subsidy and perk that way!

                  Also I would point out that the current discount at night time is a symptom of having large power stations. Since that is changing, a whole new world of tariffs incentives are likely to develop. Neither you nor I can determine how that will develop.

                  Also, I did answer your question because I clearly stated that the capacity of proposed offshore wind farms in the pipeline, covers the requirements of UK road transport.

    • Phil D

      Bit late to the party, as only just seen the blog entry. Regardless of any debate about which is the most national national network, this is indeed a welcome development. I do fairly low mileage, but live in a flat, so have no access to home charging, so something like this is the sort of thing that makes me start to consider an EV as and when I replace my current car. It may be the car after that, who knows, but at least the choice is now starting to be a realistic one. One thought does occur with regard national charging networks, and that’s supermarkets. Whatever you think of them, they are the one place most people will go every week and most towns have them. Recharge time (if topping up) is less of an issue, as you are spending that time in the store anyway so can effectively multi-task. Has Ecotricity approached any of the big hypers with a view to having these points in their car parks?

        • David

          Waitrose have done a deal with the POLAR network to do exactly this.

    • Mitchell Smitley

      Dale. i just found this and it is troubling to me personally, i thought of this same idea 9 months ago when there was nothing saying it existed and it would appear that you have beat me to the punch. i was hoping to sell it and be stable for the rest of my life, notice the word stable… I dont want to be rich with more money then i can work with. i just want to be secure. I would like to help you with this Wind powered car of yours because i have been running the math and crunching the numbers for almost a year now i have A LOT of new inovative ways to conserve electricity and sustain the charge. I can help you, if you let me, and pay me ofcourse =). Like i said… i’m not looking to get rich, i just want enough to survive without worries. Please help me.