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Just need to get this one off my chest!

we are new BEV owners and spent a lot of time researching just about everything we could on BEVs. We downloaded all the recommended apps (Watts App, Pod Point, Charge Car, Plug share, Electric Highway, Shell recharge, Zap Map, ABR) and got RFID cards for Geniepoint, Charge Places Scotland, Shell. We watched endless hours of YouTube. We though we got the main bases covered.

today we decided that we would charge the car away from home while we did the shopping. We can charge at home but having never charged on a public charger before thought it was wiser to do it before it was needed and could cause a problem if it went wrong.

We hooked up to the Engie charger and used the Geniepoint RFID card, which has the Engie logo on it. Message back - RFID card not recognised. Rang the helpline number, was told that although Geniepoint own Engie, the card won’t work on Engie chargers and we’d have to register on the website.

so we registered on the ev.engine site and tried again to charge . But the site wouldn’t see the charge point and came up with a list of nearest points (300 miles away!) Checked location services were enabled, which they were.

Rang back on the number and explained the problem, the lady at the other end started the charge session for us. And helped me to register my Shell RFID card as one to use on the Engie account. WTF! Why can a completely third parties card be used but the inter company one can’t!

anyhow, by now 40 minutes had passed since we rocked up, luckily nobody else had appeared wanting to use the chargers (a single charger space, with one for taxis only next to it - never seen that one used...)

we did out shopping and came back 30 mins later. Couldn’t stop the session as the newly registered Shell RFID card wouldn’t work. Rang the number again. The guy stopped the session and explained that the Shell card wouldn’t work because it wasn’t used to start the session. (Fair enough, it stops any Tom Dick or Harry stopping your session for you).

But my point is WHY is it so difficult.?

What clown allowed the different networks to require apps and specific RFID cards, and not allow simple credit card or debit card use? You know, like you can when refuelling an ICE.

The current situation is utterly ludicrous I want to turn up, plug in, tap my card and pay.

so what should have been a straightforward exercise was extremely stressful and really boiled my p1ss.

but having vented my spleen here, I do feel better

IF anyone who has influence with the UK Government /transport policy is reading, If you want wide public acceptance of BEV this ridiculous situation MUST be resolved.

I am so glad we chose to experiment with the charging - if this had happened at a strange town, in the dark, in the rain, when we were down to 10% I think I’d have set fire to the car and bought another ICE with the insurance payout.


other than that we both absolutely love the Zoe!
 

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EV Convert
iPace HSE / 2019
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628 Posts
Welcome to the world of public charging. Your experience is very typical unfortunately; eventually you'll maybe settle on two or three networks that you trust.

Your requirement "turn up, plug in, tap my card and pay" is the Instavolt model. If your Zoe has CCS and you have one nearby, then give that a try. It really is that simple, but no AC at Instavolt.
 

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When rapid chargers were first installed they had RFID card readers fitted, and weren't compatible with chip and pin cards. Ecotricity chargers were free for a while as were the chargers in Scotland. The more recent chargers now accommodate bank card payment, indeed the law was changed to make the charge point operators offer this on new points, but they didn't require old chargers to be updated straight away. Many providers opted to use apps to collect payment rather than fitting chargers with card readers to save costs. Most 7kW posts rely on an RFID card or app to work them.

As you say a bit of planning would have avoided this mess.
 

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EV Convert
iPace HSE / 2019
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628 Posts
I hear there’s a new card you can sign up to that will cover most networks...

;)
I think that's the Allstar One Electric Fuel Card but they don't have many of the networks' support. So it may well not happen.

 

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Hey, 2015 called and wants its rant back! ;)

Engie was your problem there, I’ve not had any luck with them either.

Try an Instavolt charger next, different experience, just start end and pay with your contactless debit card, no App or RFID required.

Like a lot of ‘long time‘ EV drivers, I’ve got most of the RFIDs and quite a bit of cash stashed away on various Apps. In time I found the chargers I liked in the places I go to, so now it’s Instavolt and Polar mainly for me. The rest of the cards gather dust, but one day I might need them.
 

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Just need to get this one off my chest!

we are new BEV owners and spent a lot of time researching just about everything we could on BEVs. We downloaded all the recommended apps (Watts App, Pod Point, Charge Car, Plug share, Electric Highway, Shell recharge, Zap Map, ABR) and got RFID cards for Geniepoint, Charge Places Scotland, Shell. We watched endless hours of YouTube. We though we got the main bases covered.

today we decided that we would charge the car away from home while we did the shopping. We can charge at home but having never charged on a public charger before thought it was wiser to do it before it was needed and could cause a problem if it went wrong.

We hooked up to the Engie charger and used the Geniepoint RFID card, which has the Engie logo on it. Message back - RFID card not recognised. Rang the helpline number, was told that although Geniepoint own Engie, the card won’t work on Engie chargers and we’d have to register on the website.

so we registered on the ev.engine site and tried again to charge . But the site wouldn’t see the charge point and came up with a list of nearest points (300 miles away!) Checked location services were enabled, which they were.

Rang back on the number and explained the problem, the lady at the other end started the charge session for us. And helped me to register my Shell RFID card as one to use on the Engie account. WTF! Why can a completely third parties card be used but the inter company one can’t!

anyhow, by now 40 minutes had passed since we rocked up, luckily nobody else had appeared wanting to use the chargers (a single charger space, with one for taxis only next to it - never seen that one used...)

we did out shopping and came back 30 mins later. Couldn’t stop the session as the newly registered Shell RFID card wouldn’t work. Rang the number again. The guy stopped the session and explained that the Shell card wouldn’t work because it wasn’t used to start the session. (Fair enough, it stops any Tom Dick or Harry stopping your session for you).

But my point is WHY is it so difficult.?

What clown allowed the different networks to require apps and specific RFID cards, and not allow simple credit card or debit card use? You know, like you can when refuelling an ICE.

The current situation is utterly ludicrous I want to turn up, plug in, tap my card and pay.

so what should have been a straightforward exercise was extremely stressful and really boiled my p1ss.

but having vented my spleen here, I do feel better

IF anyone who has influence with the UK Government /transport policy is reading, If you want wide public acceptance of BEV this ridiculous situation MUST be resolved.

I am so glad we chose to experiment with the charging - if this had happened at a strange town, in the dark, in the rain, when we were down to 10% I think I’d have set fire to the car and bought another ICE with the insurance payout.


other than that we both absolutely love the Zoe!
My very first public charge was on a ChargePlace Scotland charger, using the RFID card which cost £20.

IT WORKED PERFECTLY FIRST TIME.
 

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i3 with Range Extender (EREV) Sept 2014
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This has been the most common annoyance the EV community has been banging on about for years and there is a directive to have all rapid chargers accept credit cards by a certain date which I think was end of year but they have excuse to extend that now. Good luck and give Instavolt a try next outing if you have a CCS equipped Zoe and you may regain the faith ⚡⚡⚡👍
 

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I'm happy with using RFID cards, however one RFID card with works on all networks would be perfect.
Apps are annoying (hope your phone has signal and battery, lots of faff even if it does) although using them to check current charge status and history seems quite useful.
Contactless cards are theoretically easy and universal, but as posted elsewhere have significant disadvantages for the network having to take on transaction fees for multiple small payments rather than billing a larger amount once a month (and also they have to pre-auth so tie up money in your bank account too)

My main concern with apps is getting stranded somewhere with no phone signal and no way to start a charge, so I've been requesting RFID cards as much as possible.
 

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I have as yet only tried two networks but given I have no idea when my home charger is being sorted I'm likely to be using them quite a bit. I'm also trying out a variety of networks just for the hell of it (I've registered on loads so why not!).

GeniePoint: Once you've registered the RFID it's just a case of tap, plug in, tap again, unplug. This is simple and how it should be!
Ecotricity: Expecting issues given the bad rep they have. The app is not great, because it's an app it doesn't know which charger you are trying to activate, then when you go back into the app later it struggles to remember that you are charging. So, it takes longer than it should do to start the charge. I believe they have wifi though so no concerns about signal issues.

I'm intending to try a Polar point tomorrow so will see how that goes.
 

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We all know how it should be. Tap a contactless bank or credit charge. I wish I knew why charging was so chaotic, but the only way the suppliers will get the message in the end is if everyone votes with their feet.
I try to plan journeys to use only rapids with contactless bank card payment and never use slow or fast chargers away from home It just isn't worth getting the cable out for a few pence of electricity.
Maybe now is the time for all EV owners to write to their MPs. I did get involved in a trial run by Imperial College which hoped to provide information to government but it was cut short because of COVID.
 

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EV Convert
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FWIW - Polar are now saying all their rapid chargers have been updated to take contactless cards.
They might "take" them. Pity the chargers don't work reliably, even the newest ones, and they have the customer support ethics of the big 6 energy companies. Odd that. Another one I'll never use again.
 

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Your rant is unfortunately still very current (ref. the "2015" comment above). We just returned from Holiday and needed to charge twice on the way down the M6/M5. I stupidly planned a stop at the Knutsford services (Ecotricity). I should have known better, as every time I've attempted Ecotricity, it's ended in tears (or frustrated rants like yours!). So after wasting 25 minutes failing to charge or get through to their hotline, we drove 10 miles on to an off-motorway Polar charger (300yds from the Motorway junction). Tap tap, charge, first time, no drama. Second stop was at the wonderful Instavolt insallation in the Astle retail park, west Brom (just off the M5 J1 - four modern instavolt CCS chargers in a row). Again, tap tap charge! So, set up your Zap-map settings to only show Polar, Instavolt, Geniepoint and you should be good :). When the others are starved of revenue, maybe they'll finally pull their finger out and upgrade their chargers.
 

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When the others are starved of revenue, maybe they'll finally pull their finger out and upgrade their chargers.
Nope.

Read up on ecocrapity's response to the recent driver survey that ranked their network dead last in consumer satisfaction.

Heads in sand.

The problem is that your point on revenue won't make any difference - EH has always lost money, and they won't invest in it until it begins to make money. Hence why they hiked the price up to 39p/kWh, toward the higher end of pricing across networks (at least for <50kW charging. Ionity and Polar HPCs are more expensive but you're paying for speed). They really are utterly clueless and lack of revenue is business as usual for EH. They will simply continue to pat themselves on the back for a job well done while ignoring reality, and continuing to block out other charge networks from some MSA providers.
 

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Hence why they hiked the price up to 39p/kWh
Has anyone actually paid this yet?
Here's a screenshot I took just now where its still quoting 30p - And nowadays I simply don't get charged at all, never mind a lower price!
 

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Nope.

Read up on ecocrapity's response to the recent driver survey that ranked their network dead last in consumer satisfaction.

Heads in sand.

The problem is that your point on revenue won't make any difference - EH has always lost money, and they won't invest in it until it begins to make money. Hence why they hiked the price up to 39p/kWh, toward the higher end of pricing across networks (at least for <50kW charging. Ionity and Polar HPCs are more expensive but you're paying for speed). They really are utterly clueless and lack of revenue is business as usual for EH. They will simply continue to pat themselves on the back for a job well done while ignoring reality, and continuing to block out other charge networks from some MSA providers.
This is very depressing! In that case, the only recourse is for regulatory authority (government?) to strip Ecotricity of their contract to supply motorway service stations, and give it to someone who can deliver (Instavolt, Geniepoint, etc). It made me shakingly mad yesterday on our long drive home, to be forced to look for off-motorway charging (where access to coffee, food etc. would be limited) just to get a working charger!! What can we do, as users, to protest here? I'm guessing that a strongly worded email to Ecotricity will fall on deaf ears, so who is the right organisation to send complaints to? Is there an EV Ombudsman??
 

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Has anyone actually paid this yet?
Here's a screenshot I took just now where its still quoting 30p - And nowadays I simply don't get charged at all, never mind a lower price!
Fair question. I fell into that stupid trap of taking EH at their word, didn't I?

But yes, I have to admit that the majority of EH charging that I ever did with the Leaf was on Free Vend. Maybe we're starting to see why their revenue sucks...

This is very depressing! In that case, the only recourse is for regulatory authority (government?) to strip Ecotricity of their contract to supply motorway service stations, and give it to someone who can deliver (Instavolt, Geniepoint, etc). It made me shakingly mad yesterday on our long drive home, to be forced to look for off-motorway charging (where access to coffee, food etc. would be limited) just to get a working charger!! What can we do, as users, to protest here? I'm guessing that a strongly worded email to Ecotricity will fall on deaf ears, so who is the right organisation to send complaints to? Is there an EV Ombudsman??
It's been gone over many times here. Nothing has changed in the years that people have been moaning about it. I think that other charger networks are concentrating on providing decent charge locations in places with a few food options that are near to a motorway junction (which is much more akin to the US way of providing services - they don't have MSAs like we do, you just pull off the freeway at a junction and there will be a number of food places and a gas station. Often there are signs on the freeway telling you what food and gas outlets there are at the next junction) - Astle retail park is one example of that type of placement. KFC Barlborough, The Bobbin Carrier Cleckheaton, MK Coachway etc are a few other examples of "Motorway Adjacent" placements that will provide alternatives to MSAs... plus the food and coffee options at these locations will tend to have less mark-up than MSA locations.

I think that what will happen is that when the MSA providers (eg Welcome Break, Roadchef) start seeing significant drops in revenue as EV drivers go to motorway adjacent locations instead then they will start to evaluate why that is and come to the conclusion that EH is the problem. That's the revenue drop that will spur change, not the revenue of EH itself.

Here's an article about the survey that I mentioned, and you can read EH's denial also... Ecotricity provides the worst electric charging network in Britain, says study
 
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