Motorway EV Charging is Falling Short

Motorway EV Charging is Falling Short

New research conducted by the RAC reveals that the government looks unlikely to meet its target of having six or more rapid or ultra-rapid electric vehicle chargers at every motorway service area in England by the end of 2023. Only 27 of 119 motorway services reviewed by the RAC currently have the target number of chargers. The RAC’s research found around 400 high-powered charging units at motorway services capable of charging 682 electric cars simultaneously.

When looking at the number of connectors these devices have, there is an average of nearly four of the most commonly used CCS (Combined Charging System) connectors and just under two CHadeMO connectors used predominantly by the Nissan Leaf.

Six motorway services in England don’t have any high-powered chargers. These are Leicester Forest on both sides of the M1, Tebay South on the M6, Carlisle Northbound on the M1, Strensham Southbound on the M5 and Barton Park on the A1(M).

EV Charger

The government’s “Taking Charge: the electric vehicle infrastructure strategy”, published in March 2022, set out an intention to accelerate the roll-out of high-powered chargers on the strategic road network through the £950m Rapid Charging Fund to give EV drivers confidence in the ability to undertake longer journeys. The document states, “We will ensure that every motorway service area has at least six rapid chargers by the end of 2023, with some having more than 12.” Currently, only six services in England have more than 12 such devices. These are Exeter on the M5, Rugby on the M6, Reading East and West on the M4, Thurrock on the M25 and Wetherby on the A1(M).

The government expects around 300,000 public chargers of all speeds as a minimum by 2030 and more than 6,000 high-powered chargers along strategic roads by 2035.

RAC EV spokesperson Simon Williams said: “Our findings show there is much work to be done before the end of the year if the government’s target of having six high-powered chargers at every motorway service area is to be met.

“Installing these types of units is not straightforward as connecting to the electricity grid is expensive and time-consuming, but clearly more needs to be done to make this process simpler than it is currently.”

“As a lack of charging facilities is rapidly becoming one of the most widely quoted reasons for drivers not going electric, all parties involved in making installations happen must work together to overcome this obstacle.

“With approaching 1m battery electric vehicles on the road and the Government having a goal of 80% of new cars sold by 2030 being zero-emission, it’s critical that the country’s charging network grows proportionately, particularly at the fastest end of the charging spectrum.”

1 in 10 Petrol Stations are selling Diesel at or below the price of Unleaded

1 in 10 Petrol Stations are selling Diesel at or below the price of Unleaded

Since 2003, diesel has consistently been priced higher than unleaded fuel on UK forecourts. However, a significant shift has occurred recently, as diesel prices have dropped below unleaded prices at an increasing number of locations.

In 2022, diesel prices peaked just below £2.00 per litre with a difference of over 13 pence per litre (ppl) compared to unleaded fuel. Both unleaded and diesel have dropped since July 2022; however, the difference between the two grades reached over 24ppl in November 2022. In March 2023, the wholesale diesel market experienced a notable decrease, while unleaded prices remained relatively stable, with a slight increase. Both have continued to drop through April, resulting in the wholesale diesel price falling below unleaded.

As these reductions in diesel prices gradually make their way to the pumps, our users have reported diesel being sold at or below unleaded prices at 1 in 10 petrol stations over the past week. Notably, leading supermarket chain Tesco has emerged as a key player in this price shift, with 15% of reported petrol stations offering diesel at or below unleaded prices. Sainsbury’s and Asda follow closely with 12% and 7% respectively, while Costco members enjoy both some of the lowest prices and with 32% of petrol stations offering diesel below unleaded.

In addition to the major retailers, several smaller brands and independent petrol stations are leading the way in reducing diesel prices. Brands such as GO, Solo, Scottish Fuel, Nicholl Fuels, Star, TotalEnergies, and Circle K boast over 33% of their sites selling diesel at or below unleaded prices.

Diesel v Unleaded Map

However, it is worth noting that the availability of lower diesel prices varies significantly across different regions of the UK. For instance, in Greater London, only 4% of reported prices show diesel being sold at or below unleaded prices. In contrast, drivers in Northern Ireland can expect to see stations offer diesel at or below unleaded prices with 80% of reported petrol stations offer diesel at or below unleaded prices. Aberdeenshire and the Highland regions also demonstrate a high proportion of petrol stations with lower diesel prices, with only 43% of stations selling unleaded above diesel. Meanwhile, in Carmarthenshire, diesel users are likely to find prices equal to or below unleaded at 71% of stations. Unfortunately, in Devon and Cornwall, most stations (96%) have diesel prices above unleaded, leaving drivers paying more for their fuel.

Diesel and unleaded prices are charging quickly currently, and competition is helping to drive down prices and ensure that UK drivers are being charged a fair price for their fuel. If you see a price that has changed, please consider updating it on the PetrolPrices app to help other motorists save on their fuel costs.

New Trade Organisation for EV Charging

New Trade Organisation for EV Charging

A new trade body for the electric vehicle (EV) charging industry, ChargeUK, was launched in late April and revealed investment plans up to 2030. ChargeUK brings together 18 of the UK’s largest charge point operators (CPOs), which have announced they will invest more than £6 billion in installing and operating new EV charging infrastructure by 2030.

Ian Johnston, chair of ChargeUK and CEO of Osprey Charging Network, said, “We will continue to be a proactive partner to government as we deliver a world-class charging infrastructure, giving the nation’s drivers confidence to transition to electric vehicles.”

Transport decarbonisation and technology minister Jesse Norman said, “The launch of ChargeUK shows how industry working together, alongside the Government, can release private investment, improve delivery, raise standards and promote the use of electric vehicle charging infrastructure for drivers across the country.”

Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus EV, added: “Charging infrastructure is the key to the EV revolution, and it’s great to see government and industry come together to supercharge the rollout. The government has set the direction, and investors are pumping in much-needed capital. With over 23,000 public charging locations and rapid chargers almost doubling every year, UK drivers can enjoy the benefits of EVs: tech-on-wheels with low-cost fuel. The UK has a real chance to charge ahead in the race to zero emissions transport.”

The 18 founding members of ChargeUK are Be.EV, Believe, BP Pulse,, ChargePoint, Connected Kerb, ESB, Equans, Evyve, Fastned, Gridserve, Ionity, Mer, Osprey, Pod Point, PoGo Charge, Shell Recharge and Raw Charging.

The new body will have to address the four areas the UK Government identified in its consultation on the consumer experience at public chargepoints as those that are crucial in encouraging people to switch to EVs:

  1. Making it easier to pay, with a minimum standard for payment across all chargepoints.
  2. Opening up chargepoint data to enable users to identify available chargers.
  3. Using a single payment metric; standardising on pence-per-kilowatt hour (kWh)
  4. Ensuring a reliable network

As the switch to EVs continues, it is clear that the availability and reliability of chargepoints is a crucial factor in how fast the movement away from fossil fuels will be. Hopefully, Charge UK members will address the concerns expressed in an RAC survey from October 2022, where 60% of those surveyed said they wouldn’t switch to EV because there weren’t enough public chargepoints, and 49% were waiting for the technology to improve.

Be Bank Holiday Ready with Start Rescue

Be Bank Holiday Ready with Start Rescue

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With spring and summer comes warmer weather, Bank Holidays, and an increase in the number of people making road trips – all of which can see the UK’s motorways become jam-packed with cars.

Failing to plan properly for a road trip could mean the whole day or weekend is spoilt, so here’s Start Rescue’s guide to help you avoid traffic nightmares if you’re planning to hit the road on Bank Holidays.

Research the journey

Take the time to research your journey before setting off. Spending a few minutes using a service like Google Maps to plan your journey can help you map a route and get a rough estimate as to how long it would take to get to your destination on a normal day.

Of course, as we know, Bank Holiday traffic can often mean a longer journey time compared to what you would normally expect.  Setting off as early as possible is a good idea, helping to reduce the amount of time you’ll spend in queues of traffic.

Keep in mind that the worst congestion is likely to be in the vicinity of airports, ports, coasts, national parks and the south-west of England – so if you’re planning on heading to any of these, add extra time to your journey and expect delays.

Checking local news is also a good idea, as this will let you know if there have been any accidents en route to your destination, allowing you the time needed to re-plan your journey.

Carry out our pre-journey vehicle checks

Check your tyres

Figures from National Highways report that 1 in 5 motorway breakdowns are caused by tyre problems, highlighting the importance of checking your tyre tread and pressure.

Ensure your tyres have at least 3mm of tread (the legal UK minimum).
Also check your tyres are pressured to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Underinflated or low-tread tyres make your vehicle harder to control and uses more fuel more quickly. They will also increase your stopping distance when braking.

Check your oil level

It’s always advisable to check your car’s oil level before heading off on any long journey.

Oil is essential to ensure your car’s engine works smoothly and effectively.

Its main function is to lubricate the engine’s internal moving parts, but it also helps cool the engine by evenly distributing heat.

Top up your screenwash

Bird droppings, bugs, or dirt from rain showers can all impair your vision when driving.

Ensure that your screenwash levels are topped up before setting off on any journey, to make sure you have a clear view of the road.

Water and coolant.

Your engine’s coolant level should be checked regularly to avoid causing serious damage to your engine. 

Low levels of water and coolant can lead to your engine overheating, especially in the warmer months so it is always a good idea to check the levels ahead of making any long journeys.

Keeping costs down

When undertaking long journeys in the car, drivers are advised to take regular breaks from the road, which can prove costly if all these are taken in motorway service stations.

Fill up your fuel tank before you set off at a local garage to avoid inflated prices.

Taking packed lunches with you will avoid the need to buy food when you stop.

Keeping the family entertained

Long car journeys can see children become bored and agitated, which can make the driver stressed. Therefore, it’s an idea to pack plenty of toys and books to keep youngsters entertained.

Playing games in the car is always a great way to pass the time and keep the kids happy.

You should also encourage them to have a nap on the way, as this will help them to be well-rested by the time you get to your final destination.

Start Rescue’s guide to help you avoid traffic nightmares if you're planning to hit the road on Bank Holidays.

Ensure you have suitable breakdown cover

Whilst pre-journey vehicle checks can help lessen the likelihood of a breakdown, having suitable cover in place can help to ensure that help is on hand should it be required.

A Which? Recommended Provider for Breakdown Services for four years running, policies from Start Rescue are available from as little as £19.75 per year.

Rated excellent on Trustpilot, Start Rescue repair over 80% of vehicles at the roadside.

With unlimited callouts, misfuel cover and accident recovery included as standard, arranging breakdown cover with Start Rescue will provide you with peace of mind ahead of setting out on your Bank Holiday road trip.

For more information or to get a quote, visit

Ford’s Hands-Free Self-Driving System Approved For Use in the UK

Ford’s Hands-Free Self-Driving System Approved For Use in the UK

Drivers will be legally allowed to take their hands off the steering wheel on Britain’s motorways for the first time as long as they watch the road after the government approved another step on the path to self-driving cars.

Ford has released “hands-off, eyes-on” driver-assistance technology in the UK, with Department of Transport approval for use on select roads, with 2,300 miles of pre-mapped motorways in England, Scotland, and Wales, designated as “Blue Zones”.

The subscription technology, called Ford BlueCruise, will initially only be available for 2023 models of Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E SUV. According to Ford, the vehicle, which has a maximum speed of 80 mph, uses five radars to detect and track the position and speed of other vehicles on the road. Though the car can handle tasks like acceleration, braking, lane positioning, and steering independently, Ford requires the driver to be capable of taking control of the vehicle at any time and be fully aware of what’s going on for BlueCruise to function.

A forward-facing camera will detect lane markings and speed signs. At the same time, the car’s system uses an infrared driver-facing camera located below the instrument cluster to check the driver’s eye gaze and head pose to ensure their attention remains focused on the road. If the system detects that the driver is inattentive, warning messages will be displayed in the instrument cluster, followed by audio alerts and brake activations, before the vehicle finally slows down while maintaining steering control.

According to Ford, similar actions are performed if the driver fails to place their hands back on the steering wheel when prompted when leaving a Blue Zone.



Ford E-Mach

Increasing the Number of Self-Drive Cars

BlueCruise represents what’s known as a Level 2 driver-assistance system and is broadly comparable to Tesla’s Autocar offerings. It has been available since 2021 in USA and Canada, and in that time, more than 190,000 Ford and Lincoln vehicles have covered more than 60 million miles using the technology.

After a 90-day trial, BlueCruise will cost £17.99 per month. While self-driving technology might be considered an expensive and niche pursuit, UK government research predicts that by 2035, 40 per cent of new cars in the UK could have such capabilities. In August last year, the government said that a much wider rollout of self-driving vehicles could be expected as soon as 2025.

BlueCruise has two significant differences from Tesla Autopilot. First, the Ford system is designed to allow drivers to leave their hands off the steering wheel for long periods while driving on motorways that have been pre-mapped in detail. Second, BlueCruise uses an infrared camera inside the car to monitor the driver’s face and ensure they pay attention to the road ahead.

Jim Holder, the editorial director of Autocar, said the BlueCruise announcement was “another step on the road to autonomy, although the language Ford is using is a lot more cautious than Tesla’s”. He added: “It’s a good test of how much Britain’s drivers want this technology and are willing to pay for it. A lot of research shows people are pretty suspicious, and there’s a long journey to persuade people that they want it – and to pay a monthly fee to unlock benefits on top of the £50k they’ve already paid for a car.”

How Waves is cleaning up the hand car wash industry

How Waves is cleaning up the hand car wash industry

From the outside, it may seem that cleaning cars is a simple business, but the Car Wash Association released a report showing the size of the industry with an estimated 110m hand car washes every year.  The industry is highly fragmented and largely unregulated, tarnished by well-publicised variations in operating standards and high-profile investigations into modern slavery, labour exploitation and tax evasion.

So how can customers make a responsible choice for their provider? 

We caught up with Abby Holdsworth, Franchise & Innovation Director at Waves, one of the UK’s largest and most respected providers of hand car wash.  Waves operates from 275 high profile sites across the UK predominantly in supermarket car parks and for nearly a decade they have invested in bespoke software systems that have become key to managing the network. 

Technology is changing our business in a number of ways, explains Abby.

Customer choice

Technology gives our customers choice in how they interact with us:  they can use our App to find a car wash, pre-book, pay and collect loyalty points. On site the customer experience is simple: with check-in through our electronic booking in system, using ANPR technology to speed up the process and provide a seamless customer service.  To minimise waiting times, we message our customers once their car is ready. On the move, the customer can download receipts, check loyalty points, explore the range of services, leave a review and more.

Financial transparency

Historically, hand car wash has been a notoriously non-compliant sector. At Waves we use technology to deliver a transparent and compliant model:  electronic booking-in, integrated contactless payment technology and financial reporting improves the transparency of our business, providing reassurance to customers and landlords.

Wave Hand Car Wash

Ethical employment practices

Similarly, our employment practices are best-in-class thanks to our bespoke software systems.  Real-time information about our network’s 2,000 employees allows us to track trends, monitor pay and conditions, ensure training levels are attained and ensure attendance is logged for every member of staff.  Our technology gives particular reassurance to our Landlords (including Tesco, ASDA and Sainsbury’s) as well as an unparalleled labour insight into our network.

Business management

The data collected through the systems is collated to provide an end-to-end business management tool for our Franchise Partners who can track and compare trading levels, wash trends and customer purchasing patterns to manage their businesses more effectively.  They can centrally manage fleet accounts, take pre-bookings and run personalised marketing campaigns tailored for their business needs.  Technology gives our Franchise Partners flexibility to manage their businesses remotely, or on the ground. 

Cleaning cars will always be our passion, but thanks to technology we offer more to our customers: knowledge that we run a cleaner business as well as improved consumer choice.   Car washing has come a long way indeed.

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