Those that have traveled to the UK in their EV have probably used an Ecotricity rapid charger at a motorway service station. Almost a year ago Ecotricity introduced 'charging for charging’ on their Electric Highway, after being free to use for five years.
When charging was introduced in the summer of 2016 they chose to go a £6 fee for 30 minutes. A 'one size fits all' approach. This was welcomed by some as it would reduce the likelihood of drivers hogging the charge points or using them if they didn't really need to. Due to the increase in EV numbers in the UK these rapid chargers can often be very busy. Others were angry as the pricing didn't charge by the Kwh but by time. On a slower charging vehicle, or depending on other factors that affect charge rates, the cost could be calculated at more that running an ICE vehicle. To say the introduction of the charging model divided opinion is an understatement, but it had been free for 5 years while the network grew and it is a commercial charging network that needs to pay for itself.
The £6 for 30 minutes was always a temporary solution and Ecotricity did say they would monitor usage and update their systems so a more sophisticated and flexible charging system could be introduced. The main issue they have to deal with is fixed time period charging and the different amounts of energy that various vehicles can use in that time. The pricing model also needs to reflect the cost of installing and running the infrastructure, not just the cost of energy. They have tried to separate the cost of energy from the cost of providing the service.
From the 26th June 2017 there will be a £3 connection fee for all sessions and energy will be charged at 17p per Kwh (unit), similar to what many people pay on-peak at home and similar to the cost here on the Isle of Man. Ecotricity customers won't pay the connection fee but that obviously doesn't apply to Isle of Man residents.
Ecotricity state that the new model will typically be lower for all makes and models of EV and will reflect the amount of energy used better. They have also increased the maximum charge time to 45 minutes.
Remember that to use the chargers you will need to download the Electric Highway smart phone app (available for Android and iPhone). For more information see EVIOM's Useful Links page. To contact Ecotricity email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01453 761455.