An EV Question

I don’t get it.

People keep saying ‘oh, charging stations are going to be a huge problem on motorways’ and ‘you’re going to need lots of extra spaces to charge cars’ like this is (a) true, or (b) a problem. For the service station owners this has got to be the best thing since sliced cheese. Charging at this point in time is potentially fast, but not 2 minutes fast.

Kathryn and I currently generally barely stop at services. We pull in, fill up with nasty petrol (the minimum amount required to get us to our destination because it costs 10p more per litre, or more, quite frequently) and hop back in the car, chocolate/nuts/sweets/drink in tow, and drive away.

With the slow-charging G-Wiz, Nikki and I stopped at rather a lot of pubs on our cross country oddesy, having rather nice meals and supping large glasses of (non-alcoholic) drinks.

Even with fast charging, as it currently stands, we’ll probably want 15-30 minutes. That’s good for driving alertness, because you’re meant to take a proper break, and it’s good for the service station owners. If you’re stood around for 15 – 30 minutes it’s all the more time for you to browse the music/books/mags, sit down and go ‘Oh, actually, I will have a Danish with that coffee’. It’s all good for them.

And all this extra space that will mysteriously be required? What extra space? Yes, it takes longer so you can’t ram 50 EVs through charging in the same time that you can fill up 50 assorted petrol cars. But what these people are neglecting is that unlike petrol cars, filling up an EV does not require a carefully segregated getto filled with noxious, toxic, environmentally damaging fluids. It doesn’t require careful construction with tons and tons of concrete and drainage that traps the nasty dirty river-water-polluting oil. It can, in fact, just be a carpark with a bunch of posts in it for attaching EVs to.

The car park that…already exists.

It’s dead simple. Between the noses of the cars, you run your whacking great cable, you slap in 10, or 20 charging posts (for now). You designate a few bays (for now) as EV only, and others as EV charge capable. Ta-Da, you have an EV charging station. Better still, cover the building with solar panels and, if well sited, wind turbines on the site. You slap pay meters on your charging stations with a eco-lover’s tax. Button A is regular electricity, Button B is (at a higher rate) 100% renewable sources. You, as a company, are generating some electricity, anyhow. And suddenly you get to greenwash your company and clean up the UK’s transport.

It doesn’t fix the mess our public transport is in, which desperately needs fixing, but we’re a dinky little country, we don’t need to burn petrol to get around it…


Kate is lord and mistress of all she surveys at

3 thoughts on “An EV Question

  1. Hi Kate – love your rant and 100% agree. The numbers will be low to start with and when eventually the numbers start to impact the available spaces, it will be because there has been a dramatic shift – the beginning of the R-EVolution!

    We have a UK-wide charging stations on our site – you can track and inspect the Motorway ones as they appear!


  2. While I agree in principle, the idea that the existing parking spaces could handle charging duties is flawed. It assumes no change to the volume of cars using those parking spaces, nor to the amount of time those spaces would be used. While I don’t have statistics on the usage profile of parking spaces in motorway services, it is reasonable to assume that 1) there would be an increase in volume due to use by drivers who would otherwise go straight to the petrol pumps; and 2) there would be an increase in time-per-use due to minimum recharge times.

    However, without access to statistics on services parking space use, it is futile to argue either way.

    1. I wouldn’t say it’s a permanent answer; however whilst there would be an increase in volume that would be an increase over a fair period of time as EV usage increased. Space requirements could therefore be met with changes to that infrastructure in the future. I would suspect though that the increased time-of-use (again without stats) of the new parking/charging spaces wouldn’t differ hugely from that of the other spaces, as most people who park are (vast unverified assumption) probably going to get food/use the ‘mall-like’ facilities.

      Of course this is all predicated on an assumption that charging times won’t drop significantly, which with new technologies they will, potentially ameliorating some of the time/space considerations.

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