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UPDATED: Ecotricity to introduce £6 fee for EV charging at motorway services

Electricity company Ecotricity is to introduce a £6 fee per use of its motorway electric vehicle charging network.

The charge, which is being introduced from Monday July 11, is applied to all users that are not Ecotricity home electricity customers, according to Motoring Research.

Customers have been contacted by email with details of the fee, which would give users a 20 minute charge at one of its 300 rapid charging units which are mostly located at motorway service areas.

In the message, Ecotricity said: "To keep pace with demand, we need to build more electricity pumps – at existing and new locations.

“So the time has come for us to charge – for charging. We’ve taken a lot of feedback from EV drivers in order to arrive at the right pricing model. We’ve decided that a simple flat fee of a fiver for a 20 minute fast charge strikes the right balance.”

The charge has since been revised to £6 for 30 minutes charge, following customer feedback.

Access to the network and payment will now require the Ecotricity app. The move means it is likely that motorway charging of plug-in hybrid vehicles, with a sub-50 mile range, will become uneconomical.

Chargemaster has already introduced a monthly service fee to access its larger national network in August 2013, which starts from £7.85 a month. Within the network, some sites are free for subscribers while others levy a further charge.

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  • Carl Nicholson - 07/07/2016 11:17

    £5 for 20 minutes! Seriously not good, considering the electric is roughly 13.5 pence per kilowatt hour why not charge a fair rate such as kwh? charge point blocking won't be an issue in a service station anyway. This will harm the adoption of EV's.

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    • Isaac Adjei - 07/07/2016 11:29

      This will not be welcomed at all and the Govt should intervene to regulate this market to work with all stakeholder to reach an agreement as this is just the beginning.

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    • bob the engineer - 07/07/2016 22:29

      If only it were that cheap! for a PHEV 20 minutes will just about get you an 80% charge which will take use 10kW/h's so its 50p a kW/h!!! 5 times the domestic cost and several times more than running on petrol even if driving like a getaway driver! - To plug a PHEV in would be money up in smoke!

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  • Derek webb - 07/07/2016 11:26

    Makes EV's even less attractive than they are already

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  • Gordy - 07/07/2016 13:11

    What a shame... and they were doing so well! I heard the news via e-mail this morning......4 days notice. I would switch to Ecotricity (after my annual tie-in with Sainsburys energy has ended) but I think 4 days notice is unreasonable. What do you Fleet Managers think?! I'm afraid to say I think Ecotricity have jumped the gun and this may seriously adversely affect the uptake of EVS. £5 for a 20-minute charge is what it says in my e-mail from them. This, at 125 Amps maximum, is barely 50 pence worth of electricity. I'm going to have to go back to a diesel car because of this decision by Ecotricity and of my personal circumstances which will be 8 tonnes of CO2 per year again just from my commute.........Anyone for greed?.................

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    • John - 07/07/2016 13:35

      i completely agree on the timescale it is shockingly short notice. And yes the charge is too high but i would suggest they dont have the technical infrastructure to meter the electricity properly and charge for it, hence the hammer to crack a nut £5 charge. You could also be right it could well be greed?

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    • bob the engineer - 07/07/2016 22:34

      You won't want ot switch to their Electricity supply, they are massively uncompetitive, 15p kW/h versus 10p available from the cheapest suppliers, you would pay several £100's of pounds extra a year on your bill which would be difficult to recoup from free charging unless your a high mileage EV driver. Blackmail.

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  • Alex - 07/07/2016 13:30

    I had the email this morning from Ecotricity. It basically outlined, that going forward they will be charging for EV users to access their Electric Highway. As an EV user you might think i would be upset by this and in some respects it's a shame, but only so far as its a bit more hassle now that i need to have an app and set up an account and i will need to change the way i drive. I have used the Electric Highway many times and will use it many times again... Its awesome and thanks to ecotricity for providing it free of charge for so long. A few things however instantly spring to mind: Firstly I think this move will in the short term mean they probably won't need to invest (their reason for doing this) in more charge points at present locations as they won't be needed. As a Nissan Leaf driver I often have to wait for 20 minutes or more while all the PHEV drivers charge up their 30-mile range. In the future this won’t happen and it will only be true electric users that use them so the requirements will fall off quite dramatically. It does also create an issue however and that in relation to maximising the range and distance. A leaf for example will charge very quickly up to 80% and then take significantly longer to charge the final 20%. The way the motorway services are set out and depending upon the state of charge from the outset it is often more efficient to have a quick boost of energy over say ten minutes and then stop further along the motorway for you lunch (some services are better than other). Also on a long trip, two quick 15 minutes’ charges is often much more efficient (and gives significantly more range) than one 30-minute charge. As I will be paying per charge, this ability to benefit from the 80% quick charging effect will now not be viable and it will mean I have to sit around for much longer to get a full charge each time. Also on their FAQ they say it will be £5 for a 20-minute fast charge, a full charge takes longer but it does not say if it will cost more. It’s a bit more hassle and there are still some unanswered questions. They do say you can still get it for free if sign up as an ecotricity customer. Plenty to think about... Carl i also don't disagree with you. It would make more sense but its probably easier for them to handle the technology that's running this with a one of charge, It would also solve the 80% fast charge conundrum.

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  • Keith LANE - 07/07/2016 13:32

    pure GREED. £5 for maximum 50pence of electricity - absolute robbery.

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  • Darren - 07/07/2016 16:03

    And so it begins....

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  • YP - 07/07/2016 19:57

    What a joke!!! EV sales will plummet now. I'm going back to a diesel car, less hassle.

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  • jeff jones - 07/07/2016 21:28

    ecotricitys charge of £5 for 20 mins is a setback for ev expansion as longer jouneys become cheaper in a diesel or some petrol cars should have charged per kw

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  • bob the engineer - 07/07/2016 22:25

    July 7th 2016 - the day Ecotricity killed the Plug in Hybrid market.

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  • Paul McRoberts - 08/07/2016 11:45

    I have just given 'constructive' feedback to Ecotricity re the £5 charge and said they should have a sliding scale of charge vs type of vehicle charging. As a Mitsubishi PHEV driver I would get c.20 miles per fast charge which equates to roughly twice the price of petrol (even at supermarket prices) so how eco friendly is that? I urge all (including fleet managers) to contact Patrick McLoughlin Secretary of State for Transport to raise this point. Many of us were urged to be greener up and down the motorway - seems that not the case now

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  • David Batten - 26/07/2016 16:22

    I guess the reality of electric motoring has started to hit home with those providing the infrastructure and will now with those using it. I won't be using the motorway fast charging 'pumps' and would guess that others won't either. Trying to be a 'green' motorist is getting harder and only those who are prepared to pay a premium for running on electricity will fund the installations of new pumps, I'm sorry to say. I believe that the low range plug-in PHEV's are now not the option for those wanting to have an economic petrol vehicle. A standard petrol hybrid will probably now be the best option for company car drivers who want to run an economical petrol car.

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  • Andrew Yau - 03/08/2016 10:45

    No good to switch as Ecotricity stated the free use is under "fair usage policy" for something equivalent to GBP 300, which is approx 50 x 20 min charge a year. That is less than a charge a week, going say approx. no more than 70-75 miles a week max.

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