A consortium of four major automakers will establish a network of rapid chargers for electric vehicles running the length and breadth of the U.K. and Ireland.

Leading the project is Nissan, which along with Renault, BMW and Volkswagen plans 74 rapid chargers covering more than 686 miles (1,100 km) of major trunk routes and providing EV-friendly links to five seaports and five international airports.

Nissan says the system will charge any all-electric vehicle in less than 30 minutes with the Rapid Charge Network (RCN) expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

The four automakers are funding the project, with co-financing by the European Union and contributions by Ireland's Electricity Supply Board.

The RCN will link major ports and cities including Stranraer, Liverpool, Holyhead, Birmingham, Felixstowe, Leeds and Hull with connections to existing networks in Dublin in Ireland and Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Olivier Paturet, general manager-Nissan Zero Emission Strategy & Corporate Planning, says the U.K. network will provide a sense of security for EV drivers and help promote the advantages of zero-emissions mobility.

The rapid chargers will be the first state-of-the-art multi-standard units in public operation in Europe. The units are compatible with cars using 44-kW DC compatible charging systems, 44-kW DC CHAdeMO or 4-3 kW AC systems.

“This will ensure that every EV owner in the country can undertake long journeys secure in the knowledge that they will never be far from a rapid charger no matter what brand of car they drive,” Paturet says in a statement.

Nissan builds the all-electric Leaf at its U.K. plant in Sunderland.