End of the freeloading

The EV world was thrown into anguish and outrage as converters suddenly realised that they would no longer get free power from Ecotricity, the motorway charging people.

It all kicked off with the early release of an app which stated that instead of free power all round, they would have to start paying £5 for each 20 minutes of charge. Cue outrage, hand wringing and abject fury from some whilst others just shrugged having expected charging for some time. I am part of the latter group, however even I was surprised at the prices. The main concerns thrown up by the community were:

  • The charge was time based therefore a car that could charge at 50Kw/h would get more power for their money than one that could charge at 22Kw/h (like my Zoe)
  • Ecotricity have a monopoly on motorway service stations and for many EV’s, it would make longer journeys far more expensive than even a moderate diesel-sipping alternative
  • One aim of the charging charge was to stop the Hybrid plug-ins (yes you lot PHEV owners!) from hogging the chargers in order to get their 20 miles of electric power
  • The hogging aim was still going to be there are Ecotricity were offering free charging to their domestic power customers (unfortunately they are around £50 a month more expensive for me!)

Anyway, Ecotricity have been friendly with the EV community over the years and they got an earbashing with the news filtering to the mainstream – this all happened late last week.

And they listened. Sort of. The charges have now been amended to £6 for 30 minutes which is more suitable for me (means on my Edinburgh Airport run, 30 minutes on the way there/back will help me complete the journey easily – if I don’t use the free chargers at Halbeath that is!).

Then came the second wave of anger. As many high-users switched over their domestic power to Ecotricity to continue getting the free charging, it was noticed that deep in the T&C’s was a limit of 52 charges per year. Cue chaos! Bit of an iffy trick to push people towards their power to get free charging and then hide a limit deep in the T&C’s, but then again you should always read the small print. You do don’t you? 🙂


After all the green-anguish it won’t affect me at all really. I think I have used an Ecotricity charger four times in the first six months and each time that was during a trip to Edinburgh. I can easily top up elsewhere but it is definitely the beginning of the end for free charging in the UK. Charge Your Car still have many free chargers in Scotland but surely they will also switch to a paid revenue model now that all the grants have dried up.

Which brings in another point. All these networks have grown due to massive subsidies – and now they are going to screw us just as much as the petrol companies do. No getting away from the corporate greed – paying for your power is fine, paying a fair price should be a requirement. I pay 10p/Kw at home, Ecotricity would charge me 60p/Kw.

One thought on “End of the freeloading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *