The firm responsible for all electric car chargers at motorway services across the UK recently announced it would be charging customers £6 to top up their cars with half an hour’s worth of juice.
To get around this charge, which makes running an electric car almost as expensive as a petrol or diesel model, EV drivers are being encouraged to switch their home energy supplier to Ecotricity.
Do this, and you’ll be able to continue to charge your car at Ecotricity’s motorway charge points free of charge. But there’s a caveat: the firm has revealed in its small print it has a ‘fair-usage’ policy to stop members using its Electric Highway ‘an extremely high number of times’.
How often is too often? According to the company that blamed the fee on Outlander PHEVs clogging up the network, 52 charges a year – or once a week.
Yes, if you want to charge your electric car on the motorway more than once a week, you’ll have to pay like everyone else.
Of course, you’ll be able to continue to charge your electric car at home or for free at (slow) public charge points located away from the motorway. But if you regularly drive your plug-in vehicle on long journeys, you’ll have little choice but to stomach the £6 fee.
Justifying its fair-use policy, Ecotricity claims that members will enjoy “the equivalent of over £300 of free juice.”
“That’s just so that we can ensure fair and equal use of the network,” it adds.
Speaking to Motoring Research last month, Ecotricity spokesperson Max Boon said: “The vast majority of complaints we receive are about PHEVs clogging up chargers. We want to encourage electric car use and if we can do that by discouraging plug-in hybrids from using our network, that’s a good thing.”
Ecotricity operates 296 electric car charging stations at motorway services across the UK.