National Highways rolls-out energy storage to support motorway charging

National Highways has announced plans for a multi-million-pound investment into new high-powered charging infrastructure. 

The organisation has awarded the £8m Energy Storage Systems contract to Ameresco, who will upgrade seven motorway service areas with the large battery packs, where the grid supply is not enough for such infrastructure.  

Supported by construction firm Costain, the move aims to reduce concern over access to charge points across the motorway network at sites with poor connectivity to the grid.

The priority sites include: 

  • Beaconsfield on the M40  
  • Corley on the M6 Northbound  
  • Clacket Lane on the M25, both Eastbound and Westbound 
  • Maidstone on the M20 
  • Taunton on the M5 Northbound 
  • Tebay on the M6 Northbound

The project will see service areas have at least six chargepoints by the end of 2023. Seven Energy Storage Systems, procured using Crown Commercial Services Heat Networks and Electricity Generation Assets (HELGA) dynamic purchasing solution, will temporarily bridge the gap in connectivity, storing energy in quiet periods to provide high-power charging at busy times – until areas can obtain increased power directly from the grid for rapid charging and the roll-out of additional chargepoints. 

Energy Storage Systems comprise of grid-scale batteries safely housed in a heated and air conditioned 40ft shipping container, which can support additional high-powered (150kW) EV charge points at those motorway service areas. Ameresco are on track to have all seven Energy Storage Systems installed by the end of September 2023.      

With a typical storage capacity of 2MWh, the batteries in each system have enough energy to support more than 2 million miles of zero emission motoring each year.   

The move is part of National Highway’s net zero carbon plan, which will see it cut corporate carbon emissions by 2030, as well as from road construction, maintenance and operations by 2040 and support the transition to zero-by-2050.

Malcolm Wilkinson, Head of Energy for National Highways, said: “These new Energy Storage Systems and the high-powered chargers they supply will help ensure that motorists are unlikely to be caught without somewhere to charge, which is a fantastic move for drivers and the environment accelerating the speed in which we transition to new electric vehicles.” 

Transport Decarbonisation Minister Jesse Norman said: “Expanding the UK’s rapid charging network is essential if more people are to switch to electric vehicles, and should make charging cheaper and more convenient.

“Drivers today are never more than 25 miles away from a rapid chargepoint anywhere on England’s motorways and major A roads. But this news marks another innovative step to making sure that rapid charging is accessible and reliable for drivers.”

Mark Apsey, Managing Director, Ameresco, added: “These systems will facilitate the uptake of EVs by creating the infrastructure needed for people to switch with confidence. Transport accounts for around 27% of UK GHG emissions and it is imperative we switch as quickly as possible if the UK is to meet its target to decarbonise by 2050.”

Sign up for our essential
newsletter service.

Enter your details here.