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Ecotricity nearly doubles EV charging cost as part of revamped offering

Ecotricity has nearly doubled its unit cost for electric vehicle owners to charge on its Electric Highway network as part of a wider revamp of its EV offering.

The utility and charging infrastructure owner previously charged a £3 connection fee for 45 minutes and 17p/kWh for each unit of electricity used. However it has now elected to remove the connection fee and increase its unit rate to 30p/kWh.

Ecotricity customers will however be afforded a 50% discount rate, enabling them to charge at 15p/kWh on the Electric Highway. That rate, Ecotricity said, would not be too dissimilar from what customers would ordinarily pay to charge at home.

The increase brings Electric Highway costs more in line with those charged by Shell, which in October confirmed that it intended to charge customers an initial rate of 25p/kWh until July next year and 49p/kWh thereafter.

Tesla meanwhile charges owners of vehicles bought after 16 January 2017 20p/kWh to access its charging network.

In a statement issued to Clean Energy News, an Ecotricity spokesperson denied that any rival network charges had had an impact on its offer. It said the changes had been driven by “customer feedback and the evolving market”.

Ecotricity also claimed that most drivers would actually be able to charge more cheaply than before.

“For most drivers the changes make charging on the road cheaper, apart from those with the biggest batteries who can see a small increase.  The connection fee was intended to make things more transparent, but in some people’s eyes it just raised different issues, skewing the economics, according to how big and empty your battery is.  This is the next evolution as we try to find the model that works best for most people,” the spokesperson added.

The new changes represent the third major overhaul of the Electric Highway pricing structure in 18 months. Previously free of charge, Ecotricity began charging customers from July last year. A backlash from customers forced Ecotricity to adjust its pricing periods slightly a few days later.

But then the pricing structure was once again changed in May this year in a bid to offer “more flexibility” across the network.

Ecotricity has long argued that it does not profit from the Electric Highway and indeed previously admitted to Clean Energy News that the network racks up not insignificant financial losses for the firm.

Meanwhile Ecotricity has also launched a number of new deals for its customers owning electric vehicles including a new green electricity + EV tariff which it claims to be the “lowest cost” EV tariff on the market.

The new ‘Fully Charged’ bundle means the average EV household will save around £120 each year compared to those charging their vehicles via a Big Six standard tariff.

A partnership with charging point manufacturers Rolec will also see customers able to have a WallPod home charging unit installed for £99 – equivalent to a saving of around £180.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said the Rolec partnership brought an “important element” to its EV driver package.

“Our ambition in doing this is clear – to make electric vehicle charging at home and on the road more simple, joined up and cost effective for existing and new EV drivers, and in this way we hope to encourage more people to go electric,” he said.