Home furnishing retailer, Ikea, is encouraging its customers to make their shopping trips more sustainable through the installation of electric vehicle rapid charging points across all 18 of its store’s car parks by December 2013.
Research conducted by the retailer revealed that one in six Britons would be encouraged to switch to an electric car if more charging points were available across the UK.
Ikea is working with its sustainability partners, car manufacturer Nissan and green energy provider Ecotricity, to introduce the dedicated rapid charging points in all of its car parks so customers can confidently charge their vehicles while shopping in store.
Developed by Nissan, the rapid charger units can recharge an electric vehicle, such as the 100% electric Nissan LEAF, from empty to 80% full in 30 minutes and Ikea will be the first major retailer in the UK to make them available to its customers.
The rapid-chargers will be installed in all Ikea UK stores across the country by the end of December 2013. The charging points will be free for all customers to use and there’ll be no charge for the 100% sustainably sourced green electricity from Ecotricity.
Ikea said it has long taken the lead in developing and promoting products and solutions that help its customers save or generate energy, reduce or sort waste and use less water – all at the lowest possible price. Working alongside Nissan and Ecotricity, Ikea has installed the network to help strengthen rapid charging infrastructure in the UK and make zero emission driving a more practical and viable option for its customers.
Electric vehicles are a key part of Ikea Group’s sustainability strategy to produce as much renewable energy as it consumes by 2020. To get closer to that goal, the Ikea Group has set aside €1.5bn for investments in renewable energy up to 2015. Ikea UK has had hybrid vehicles as part of its delivery fleet for over six years and has a number of Nissan’s 100% electric LEAFs on loan as it looks to explore building a fleet of zero emission vehicles. The Nissan LEAF is the world’s best-selling electric vehicle and Nissan is working with Ikea stores across Europe to grow rapid charging infrastructure overseas.
Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability Ikea UK and Ireland, said: “At Ikea we believe electric vehicles have a significant part to play in a more sustainable future. We know that our customers want to live more sustainably and that extends to how they get to and from our stores. By installing more charging points and strengthening the infrastructure nationally, we believe we can start to tackle one of the major barriers to using electric cars which is the fear of not finding a convenient place to charge the car.”
Ikea is working with Nissan who is providing the rapid charging technology and Ecotricity who is installing, operating and providing free green electricity, sourced from solar and wind power. The chargers will form part of the pioneering Electric Highway, which is rapidly expanding charging infrastructure at motorway services across Britain. Nissan has already installed 97 rapid chargers across the UK.
Jim Wright, managing director of Nissan Motor GB, said: “Growing the rapid charging network in the UK is absolutely crucial to the uptake of zero emission vehicles.
“Nissan pioneered the electric vehicle market with the introduction of its best-selling Nissan Motor GB, and now we are working hard to lead the way with the UK’s rapid charging network. We are delighted to be at the helm of a joint venture with Ecotricity and Ikea that will see more free-to-use rapid chargers go online, enabling thousands more motorists to enjoy all-electric mobility.”
Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, 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.”
Customers can find out when the new rapid-chargers are available in a given car park by visiting www.ecotricty.co.uk.