ECOTRICITY is to start charging electric car drivers for using Britain’s most comprehensive public car charging network – the Electric Highway chargers.
A rapid charge of up to 20 minutes will cost £5, which it says is still significantly less than the equivalent cost of fuelling a petrol or diesel car, while the network will remain free for Ecotricity domestic energy customers.
A new mobile phone app will replace the current card system, which will be available for Apple and Android devices and will enable users to manage their accounts, pay for charging and check the status of chargers all in one place.
The switch to charging will be manually implemented at all charging points, with work starting on Monday 11 July and expected to be completed by Friday 5 August. This will mean that the changeover to the app payment system will be gradual, with some chargers continuing to work via the free card system later than others.
The almost 40,000 members of the Electric Highway will need to download a new mobile phone app to make payments, which will have the added functions of a ‘live feed’ of the entire network, so users can see the location and availability of their nearest pump, making it easier for you to plan your journeys.
The Electric Highway is the most comprehensive public car charging network in Europe, with nearly 300 ‘Ecotricity Pumps’ across Britain which enable electric car drivers to travel the length and breadth of the country using nothing but renewable energy.
Up until now it’s been the only public charging infrastructure in Britain that was available completely free of charge. It currently powers around two million miles a month and has powered more than 30 million miles since 2011.
The usage trebled in 2015 and it has been so successful in encouraging the uptake of electric cars that it is now necessary to start charging for the service in order to maintain and grow the network.
Ecotricity believes that by 2030 every new car should be electric (pure or hybrid), and that by 2040 they should be the only cars on the road.
Electric Highway chargers – facts and stats:
- The first Electric Highway pump was installed on 27 July 2011
- Ecotricity has since installed a total of 296 Electric Highway chargers, of which 276 are rapid chargers
- There are Electric Highway chargers across 96% of the British motorway network
- The network stretches from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Jonathan Porterfield and Chris Ramsey were the first drivers to travel the length of the country only using public charging points – a round trip that took 27 hours and 46 minutes in September 2015 and relied almost entirely on the Electric Highway
- The Electric Highway has powered a total of 30 million miles totally free of charge
- May 2016 was the busiest month of all time on the network. The Electric Highway powered 2,170,625 miles with 10,121 customers powering their cars with 347.3MWh of electricity through 43,211 separate charges.
- 38,537 customers currently hold Electric Highway cards