Currently reading: Expensive electric car charging stations to be clamped down in 2017
To increase uptake in electric and hybrid vehicles the government will consider setting common pricing between suppliers of electric car charging stations
Doug Revolta Autocar
News
2 mins read
28 December 2016

Overpriced electric car charging stations will be clamped down in the new year by the government, after fears that high prices are putting off buyers of electric and hybrid cars and making them as expensive to run as diesels.

Read more: The day electricity became more expensive than diesel

New rules in 2017 will set common standards for pricing between suppliers, according to The Times newspaper. Currently motorists can expect to pay up to £7.50 for a half-hour charge at some roadside charging stations.

Reforms could include capping maximum charges and removing the need for multiple memberships across different companies that run charging stations.

MPs filed a report in September that showed uptake of electric cars was below expectation. The government set a target of 9 per cent of new cars and vans on British to be classed as ultra-low emissions vehicles by 2020, but the environmental audit committee predicted the current rate shows that number would only be 7 per cent.

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To make electric cars more appealing, the government is looking to make charging easier and keep costs down for motorists.

Range-anxiety is a hugely prohibitive factor in purchasing electric cars and a more user-friendly, affordable and comprehensive roadside charging system - especially in rural areas and motorways - would go some way to making electric cars a more realistic possibility for buyers.

There are around 11,000 charging stations in the UK and currently Chargemaster (which runs the Polar charge point system) provides the UK’s largest EV charging network with 6000 charging points available. For £7.85 per month, subscribers have access to all charging stations including the 5000 that are free.

For non-subscribers, a £1.20 pay-as-you-go fee is chargeable, while some stations charge more than £7 for a half-hour rapid charge.

Ecotricity runs the majority of motorway charging points and charges £6 for a 30-minute charge, but the cost is free as part of Ecotricity’s home energy customer subscription.

Proposals for change will be presented in the Modern Transport Bill, which is expected to be presented to the government in early 2017.

A spokesperson from the Department for Transport told The Times:

“The number of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads are at record levels and we want to see a reliable and hassle-free public charging network so the sector can continue to grow.

“We are looking at ways to make public chargepoints more convenient for motorists, such as simplifying memberships, making pricing more consistent and transparent and making chargepoints easier to operate.”

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martinwinlow 31 December 2016

Speaking as an EV driver

Speaking as an EV driver (exclusively) since 2009 and the owner of a Mitsubishi I-MiEV, a Vectrix VX-1 (large electric scooter) and Tesla Model S (and director of a small EV charging equipment company)…

'30 mins of electricity’ means about 20kWh (or units) of electricity which, at current, average day-time rates, means about £3. If you include a reasonable feee for maintenance and depreciation (not to mention paying off the ~£50k installations cost), £6 is not an unreasonable fee for what is a rarely used facility for the vast majority of *electric* vehicle owners (please note that when I say ‘EV’, Im *not* talking about ‘pretend’ EVs, here, ie hybrids let alone fuel-cell vehicles). £6 for 20kWh works out at about 7.5p per mile. I’ll leave it to those who know more about diesels to say if that is good or not. Don’t forget though, that road tax for EVs is zero, servicing costs can be too (there is really nothing to service - tyres, windscreen wipers and cabin ventilation filters aside - and no, the brakes hardly ever get used due to EV’s inherent ability to recover energy from motion and put it back into the battery when slowing - it’s called ‘regenerative braking').

There are no-where near the 11,000 ‘rapid’ chargers int he UK that the article implies - nearer 1000 nationwide, currently (https://www.zap-map.com/statistics/). Unfortunately, the much more common (though still almost non-existent) low power, street-side charging points like you sell here and there around out towns and cities, are next to useless as the majority take at least 4 hours to fully charge an average, modern, EV from near empty, more like 8 hours. What EV driver, in their right mind, is going to leave home on a journey which they know they won't have enough range to return from unless they can, *without fail*, obtain a top-up charge somewhere convenient along the way? As it is, what low-power charging points there are out there are often defective, busy charging an EV or blocked by an ICEV (internal combustion engined vehicle) and therefore cannot be relied on and are thus, pointless.

Like most EVs, 99%+ of charging is done at home… which raises the interesting question of just how HMG is planning that the 50% of UK homes without off-street parking are going to manage charging their EVs. This is why HMG needs (IMO) to stop messing about *at this stage of EV adoption* with useless, low power, street-side charging points and give EVs owners (current and wanna-bees) a properly planned, implemented and maintained rapid charging infrastructure along the lines of the motorways. If they are serious about EV uptake (and they are spending money on it it at a rate that can suggest nothing else) then such an infrastructure is nearly as important.

As to 7 miles of range per hour charging at home being ‘very poor’, when you consider the national average daily UK car mileage is well under 30 miles, 7 ‘mph’ is perfectly fine (70 miles or so ‘overnight’). If you look at an EV like a mobile phone (in charging terms), you spend 10 seconds plugging it in when you get home and the same unplugging it in the morning. Beyond that, the charging is invisible as it happens when you are tucked up in bed. In the morning you have a full battery (if you need one) ready for the days commute (or whatever). Besides, a 30A home charging point (Note: not ‘charger' - that is in the car) adds about 30 miles of range per hour. They cost about £300-500 plus another 100 to 500 typically to install. But actually, all what most EV owners need to charge, most of the time, is a standard 13A socket.

Tesla Superchargers (SuCs as we call them) can supply 125kW (for now) compared to Ecotricity (and all the others rapid chargers)’s 50kW. That means (for Teslas with the biggest battery) 150 miles of real-world added range in 20 minutes (from near empty) or 300 miles in 75 minutes. That is why we ’rave’ about them. However, Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and more recently SolarCity, a large installer of PV in the US - and Tesla and SolarCity recently merged) has very recently been tweeting about a Version 3 SuC capable of more than 300kW output.

Hydrogen (H2) cars have most definitely gone ‘pop’ - if they were ever *seriously* intended to become a major player - many people, myself and Mr Musk included, know that they never were a realistic prospect for taking over from fossil-fuelled vehicles for many and varied reasons that I won’t go into here. The fact that Toyota, long-time proponent of H2 fuel cell vehicles, has, in just the last month, announced a program of (battery) EV development (led by none other than the CEO, Mr Toyoda, himself) suggests that the penny has finally dropped for them - like it has for every major auto maker in the world (including Morgan and Ferrari and Porsche).

LPG only moves the goal-posts a bit - it is still a fossil-fuel (and one, incidentally, that 98% of H2 is currently made from in a very energy-intensive process called ‘steam reformation’), still woefully inefficient compared to an EV and is still very expensive (compared to Eco-7 electricity). Additionally, we have very little of it in the UK and what we buy costs us (and others) a fortune, one way or another - think Iraq invasion/Mr Putin/Syria etc etc. Why not use the free, clean and adequate natural resources we have (sunlight and wind) to make our own energy? We could do it very easily if we wanted, the problem is the political clout that Big Oil and others have in our government. Even the issue of electrical storage is no longer a barrier with cheap and efficient lithium-based batteries that are already being made all over the world.

@ Marc - Can you cite a link to that project, please? It sounds very interesting.

L320 28 December 2016

Government will consider ....common pricing

This is rubbish, it would be illegal to do so. Pure spin, they are terrified people will turn back to diesel when they realise the truth that electric cars are not cheaper to run.
xxxx 29 December 2016

turn their back on Diesel

They're already turning their backs on Diesel along with their necessary Turbo, DPF, Adblue, increase noise etc. And that's before any city bans take place!
The Apprentice 29 December 2016

L320 wrote:

L320 wrote:

This is rubbish, it would be illegal to do so. Pure spin, they are terrified people will turn back to diesel when they realise the truth that electric cars are not cheaper to run.

How can it not be cheaper to run? an electric car can do a mile for 2.5p even on standard domestic prices electricity. Obviously less if you have access to your own solar panels. -That is the whole point of the governments move, to try to stop companies charging outrageous profits on it.

Marc 30 December 2016

The Apprentice wrote:

The Apprentice wrote:
L320 wrote:

This is rubbish, it would be illegal to do so. Pure spin, they are terrified people will turn back to diesel when they realise the truth that electric cars are not cheaper to run.

How can it not be cheaper to run? an electric car can do a mile for 2.5p even on standard domestic prices electricity. Obviously less if you have access to your own solar panels. -That is the whole point of the governments move, to try to stop companies charging outrageous profits on it.

Should it be cheaper to run? Perhaps initially to encourage take up, transport creates huge costs and therefore should be a relatively expensive option, whatever the power source is.

The charging units I have recently installed are under canopies, two spaces each with 44 square metres of photovoltaic panelling above. When they are operational we will receive a feed-in tariff. Whether this will cover all the costs is yet to be seen as I am not that sure of how well they will be utilised.

The Apprentice 30 December 2016

Marc wrote:

Marc wrote:
The Apprentice wrote:
L320 wrote:

This is rubbish, it would be illegal to do so. Pure spin, they are terrified people will turn back to diesel when they realise the truth that electric cars are not cheaper to run.

How can it not be cheaper to run? an electric car can do a mile for 2.5p even on standard domestic prices electricity. Obviously less if you have access to your own solar panels. -That is the whole point of the governments move, to try to stop companies charging outrageous profits on it.

Should it be cheaper to run? Perhaps initially to encourage take up, transport creates huge costs and therefore should be a relatively expensive option, whatever the power source is.

The charging units I have recently installed are under canopies, two spaces each with 44 square metres of photovoltaic panelling above. When they are operational we will receive a feed-in tariff. Whether this will cover all the costs is yet to be seen as I am not that sure of how well they will be utilised.

didn't you day they were free to use? What charge rate do they supply? charge rate and location go hand in hand, a rapid charger can be anywhere as who cares for 20 mins, but slower chargers are more often than not in pointless places no one spends 3 hours.

Marc 30 December 2016

The Apprentice wrote:

The Apprentice wrote:
Marc wrote:
The Apprentice wrote:
L320 wrote:

This is rubbish, it would be illegal to do so. Pure spin, they are terrified people will turn back to diesel when they realise the truth that electric cars are not cheaper to run.

How can it not be cheaper to run? an electric car can do a mile for 2.5p even on standard domestic prices electricity. Obviously less if you have access to your own solar panels. -That is the whole point of the governments move, to try to stop companies charging outrageous profits on it.

Should it be cheaper to run? Perhaps initially to encourage take up, transport creates huge costs and therefore should be a relatively expensive option, whatever the power source is.

The charging units I have recently installed are under canopies, two spaces each with 44 square metres of photovoltaic panelling above. When they are operational we will receive a feed-in tariff. Whether this will cover all the costs is yet to be seen as I am not that sure of how well they will be utilised.

didn't you day they were free to use? What charge rate do they supply? charge rate and location go hand in hand, a rapid charger can be anywhere as who cares for 20 mins, but slower chargers are more often than not in pointless places no one spends 3 hours.

The cost will be free to the user, they are or will be when they are fully operational, sited in car parks to Council Houses. They are fast chargers, up to 22kw. They are not necessarily for anyone to use, but are intended for visitors to the building and staff, for top-up use, although they are sited in public car parks and can be used under the parking order terms of the car parks, which are currently free of charge, maximum stay 3 hours. The locations will uploaded to relevant sites by the installation company when they are operational.

The Apprentice 28 December 2016

"Ecotricity runs the majority

"Ecotricity runs the majority of motorway charging points and charges £6 for a 30-minute charge, but the cost is free as part of Ecotricity’s home energy customer subscription." ---- NOT entirely true, you only get 1 free charge PER WEEK! worth about £52 per year, yet their electricity tariff will costs you HUNDREDS of pounds a year more than the cheapest tariffs on the market. That is why you will never see anyone use them any more.

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