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IKEA gets on electric highway with free charging points

The government recently announced that the take up of electric cars (EVs) was growing, with a record number of vehicles registered in the third quarter of 2013. A total of 1,149 new EVs were sold under the government's £5,000 subsidy scheme. This was a rise of 25% on the previous quarter and the largest number of cars sold under the scheme since it started in 2011.

The government recently announced that the take up of electric cars (EVs) was growing, with a record number of vehicles registered in the third quarter of 2013. A total of 1,149 new EVs were sold under the government's £5,000 subsidy scheme. This was a rise of 25% on the previous quarter and the largest number of cars sold under the scheme since it started in 2011. The drive to sell more EVs got another boost as furniture store IKEA announced that it is to install rapid charging stations at every one of its 18 UK stores. These rapid charge stations are compatible with a whole host of EVs, including plug-ins from Citroen, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault and Toyota.

The charging points are being developed and installed by Nissan and are capable of recharging an EV from zero to 80% charge in under half an hour. Use of the charging points will be free for all IKEA customers. The electricity is also being supplied free by green power firm, Ecotricity, who produce 100% sustainable green electricity. These new IKEA chargers are to form part of an expanding 'Electric Highway' to meet the recharging needs of the UK's growing fleet of EVs across the motorway network and beyond. The new rapid charging points will be in place by the end of this year.

Ecotricity founder, Dale Vince, said: "The Electric Highway is fast becoming vital to the electric car revolution. We began by installing fast-chargers on core motorways to enable electric vehicles to be driven on long journeys, and we are now including key destinations, of which IKEA are the first. Our vision is to be able to travel the length and breadth of the country in an electric car."

The expansion of the rapid charging network is vital in tackling one of the fundamental blockers of EV take up. Most of these cars can only travel around 100 miles on a single charge. Recharging from a normal domestic power outlet takes many hours, making overnight charging the only really viable solution. This limits the use of EVs to those with a driveway or garage and access to a power source for the car. The severe range limitations also lead to 'range anxiety' where drivers do not trust the EV to complete their journeys safely. Without access to a rapid charge station, a tow home to be recharged is the only, expensive, solution to a flat battery. The expansion of the rapid charge network could allay these fears and speed up acceptance of EVs.

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