Majority of UK Charging Stations to Charge Fee For Electricity By End of Year

Nissan Leaf charging UK

APR 8 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 15

As Autocar reports:

BMW i3 in the UK

BMW i3 in the UK

“The majority of electric vehicle charging points in the UK will move to become paid-for within the next year, making it harder to charge electric vehicles for free.”

Free charging is coming to an end in several countries around the world, so it’s no surprise that the UK is moving towards “paid-for” too.

What Autocar is specifically referring to though is Chargemaster’s decision to implement a fee for charging effective the first of this month.

“Chargemaster, which in April will become the first major electric vehicle charging point provider to start making motorists pay to use its sites, says the move has been prompted by the end of the Government-supported Plugged in Places scheme later this month.”

“The Plugged in Places intiative matched private funding to support the building and use of EV charging points. Its end means many more EV charging point providers will move to a paid-for plan over the coming year.”

Chargemaster’s David Martell stated:

“It’s simple.  This is happening not just in the UK but all over the world. In the Netherlands until last year charging points were free and now it’s chargeable. You can’t get away from it. If you want public charging points someone has to pay not only for the electricity but also for the maintenance and investment.”

“This is a positive step because it means there’ll be more and better-maintained charging sites.”

The only problem is that some of the pay-to-charge fees seem too high.  For example, Chargemaster’s Polar network will implement this fee structure, according to Autocar:

“Charges for the firm’s Polar network of EV charge points allow motorists to either pay a monthly direct debit or annual subscription or use a smartphone app. Using the app, prices for using a charging point equate to £1.20 per hour on a standard 13 amp tariff, £1.70 per hour on an advanced Type 2 tariff, and £7.50 per half hour for a rapid charge.”

For some, those fees will make driving electric more expensive than fueling an ICE vehicle.

Then there’s this statement by Autocar:

“Statistics seen by Autocar show that for every £1 spent on charging, 42p covers the cost of electricity while around 41p is needed to cover maintenance, provisions for new sites, spare parts and call centres.”

So, perhaps that charging station providers aren’t actually ripping off EV owners.  You know, a 17p profit per every £1 really ain’t a lot.

Source: Autocar

Categories: Charging

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15 Comments on "Majority of UK Charging Stations to Charge Fee For Electricity By End of Year"

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At £7.50 per half hour for an 80% rapid charge is ridiculous ! If your car averages 100 miles and you can only top it up to 80 miles for £7.50 it would be cheaper to use a diesel car without the inconvenience of having to recharge frequently !

I currently get about 80mpg out of my 1.6 Citroen c4 but was considering getting a Nissan Leaf next year, this is doing nothing for my confidence in moving over to Electric.

Maybe hybrid / Ampera is the way to go ?

I do think the price is a little high.. But these stations are there not so much to sell you fuel, but to sell you convenience. 99% of people are going to be charging their car at home every night. These stations are there for your occasional need to drive further. As such, I think it is acceptable for them to charge money for that convenience.

For example, a gas station sells a bottle of water for a lot more money than your local costco. But you aren’t paying for the water as much as the convenience.

Well, to be fair, that fast charge should be a once in a while situation. Most of your charging would likely happen at home at a much cheaper rate. PErsonally I’d be fine with paying close to gas prices for occasional long trips if the majority of my annual miles were charged at much cheaper rates.

It’s not close to gas prices, it’s ABOVE gas prices.

So what? I would have no problem whatsoever paying 10x gas price — ’cause I use it 20x less.

What matters to me is that charging is available, fast and reliable, for the rare occasions I need it.
If the service is good, I’m more than happy to pay for it.

You might pay more than gas but the vast majority of public consumers will not. Electric infrastructure has no chance of growth if the cost per mile higher than hydro-carbon fuels. Go ahead and pay more for now but eventually, those units will stop working because the companies will go bankrupt (ECOtality anyone?) If we are going to see EVs grow, it needs to have a fair pricing model. If a “pump” gets electricity at .08 to .10/kWh, it could sell it for .17 and do “great” when considering fast-charging and 24×7 customers. But when it simply is one guy plugging in for 4 hours a day trickle charging at 3.3KW and then nothing at night, it makes little economic sense to install such chargers without trying to get compensated for the equipment and labor that put it in. Workplace “wall sockets” work best. Airport “wall sockets” work great. Then put in high speed DC chargers in at premium locations where people will sit with their vehicles or get a quick lunch and pay fair kWh prices. I’ve charged at an airport a few times but at that airport, they only have six total plugs and most are usually full… Read more »
Funny you mention ECOtality, because I’d think it’s the counter-example of what you were trying to illustrate: it kept its charging stations free for most of its existence, then started asking 5$/quick-charge — cheaper than gas. Btw, while the company is no more indeed, CarCharging took over and most stations (QCs at least) are still operating. Unless it’s cheaper than at home (e.g. free), most EV drivers won’t use public charging stations… unless they have to. I wouldn’t think many road trips are done in EVs (save for Model S’, which charging stations operators probably aren’t hoping to get a lot of money from, people would likely rent or borrow a more suitable vehicle for the occasion), so direct comparison with gas prices only really matters for PHVs, most of which can’t quick-charge anyway. Like Spec9 (below), what I pay for at a QC isn’t the electricity, but its speedy transfer to my vehicle’s battery, where and when I need it. I buy convenience. Avoiding the hassle of having to borrow another car, wait forever at an L2, or simply not having to permanently keep some battery buffer for unexpected errands, is to me much more valuable than the electrons… Read more »

Not everyone has a private garage with a plug.

Millions can only use public parking and if they can’t charge at a economical tariff, they will never buy an EV.

Alan mimics the feedback you will see from so many consumers. “why change when price is just as high or higher than diesel?” There is no way to justify a consumer’s choice. Except if they live close to work and can buy a used EV and make that work economically. Things just aren’t priced well just yet to get any sort of groundswell growth among the “lesser ‘cents” (lower than 1% ers).

It depends on the context. Remember that you’re not just getting fuel, but also parking. To the extent it is a rip-off on fuel, that’s available parking, which is worth its weight in gold in some quarters. Free electric charging / parking is definitely nice, but that’s if it’s available, which it often isn’t.

I’ve read horror stories about competition for the available slots at companies that offer a few free charging stations to their employees as a perk, with people disconnecting other people whilst in the middle of charging. It’s a classic case of the tragedy of the commons.

Charging for charging also allows a revenue stream to subsidize the expansion of the system, making it more available and ultimately, cheaper.

Even Tesla may see the wisdom in charging a nominal fee for refueling at its stations if the cars were to become so popular that competition for available spots was high.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

So, perhaps that charging station providers aren’t actually ripping off EV owners. You know, a 17p profit per every £1 really ain’t a lot.

17% is about 3x too high for a utility if you ask me.

That price makes it MORE expensive than driving an ICE. E.g. I drove to Edinburgh recently and quick charged 10 times to get there in one day. At this rate that would be £75 one way, which is what it would have cost to take the wife’s ICE. EXCEPT, I had to stop TEN times, it took TWELVE hours not 7 hours and I bought at least £20 worth of coffee and burgers.

So where is the incentive to replace polluting journeys with less polluting ones?

Oh and to add insult to injury, the people that can afford a Tesla Model S, with its longer range, can drive much further round the country on their £0.14/kWh home electricity, saving the rich much more money than the rest of us, who have to use £0.75/kWh electricity!

FYI, I’m not renewing my Chargemaster membership on these terms! When they come up with a sensible price then I’ll take another look.

When I got my EV I joined 3 charging networks and keep the access cards in the car at all times. However, I’ve never used any of them in the 11 months I’ve had the car. It’s like insurance for emergency unplanned trips. I am willing to put a nominal amount of money in the account so that I can conveniently use paid stations, but any scheme with a monthly or annual fee is a non-starter for me.

I don’t view it really as paying for electricity, I view it as paying for access to a charging station. The electricity is cheap. But getting access to a charger when you need it is really worth something.

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