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As far as I understand it, Ecotricity has some sort of exclusivity arrangement with the 2 main motorway service station providers. Along with their woeful network, this puts a serious dent into the experience of using an EV in the UK for long range driving. Most EV newcomers will expect to find a decent set of chargers at service stations!

Does anyone know what the plans are around this? Seems like Dale Vince has completely lost interest in it. Now that EVs are becoming way more mainstream, it seems mad that you get to an enormous services on a major motorway to find 2x50kw chargers, and you can guarantee that one will be broken.
 

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Problem for charging networks is they have to support chademo, CCS and type 2 at least. Which makes the towers a lot more expensive. It would help if car manufacturers standardised on maybe 2 systems...CCS + type 2. If all cars had CCS capability then that would also cover for home charging and simplify towers.

Govt is talking about investment, but I agree, the motorway net is pretty poor. Not bothered about being able to choose, but having 3-6 towers with more than one CCS would-be a good start.

Reliability is the main issue. That's only covered by a good monitoring system...which ecotricity don't seem to have. A 3 day response time when you're fighting a broken tower isn't helpful.

Second is payment. That needs to be standardised. Too many apps that work in too many ways.

Ironically, off motorway, things seem better. Shell is exactly the right model although a few pence more expensive than it should be. Podpoint is reliable, but don't seem to have good CCS.

Right now I think ecotricity investment is the problem....have they run out of cash? Many sites don't even have CCS making them worthless for most drivers, w.g. M4 Leigh delamere westbound.
 

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As far as I understand it, Ecotricity has some sort of exclusivity arrangement with the 2 main motorway service station providers. Along with their woeful network, this puts a serious dent into the experience of using an EV in the UK for long range driving. Most EV newcomers will expect to find a decent set of chargers at service stations!

Does anyone know what the plans are around this? Seems like Dale Vince has completely lost interest in it. Now that EVs are becoming way more mainstream, it seems mad that you get to an enormous services on a major motorway to find 2x50kw chargers, and you can guarantee that one will be broken.
Ecotricity have some multi-charger sites coming, see this thread: New multi-charger ecotricity sites
Other services are getting either Ionity or Instavolt in addition to the existing Ecotricity chargers.
 

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Ecotricity don't have a single master agreement that gives them a monopoly.

At some locations they may have never had one. At others they probably do have exclusive use.

They recently renewed agreements at some locations so those might be in new terms.

We don't know because the agreements are confidential.
 

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TBH i dont have any problem with my Tesla when it comes to charging on the main routes, just Wales, the Flatlands and bits of Scotland/Ireland. :D ;) :p

I honestly think that gridserv as they roll out will quash the MSA's as they havent looked after them for years, its not just EH that are at fault but the MSA's themselves as they are 99% just turdholes. Poorly maintained carparks, buildings, facilities. Keel northbound is a perfect example of how bad they are, pot holes, drains across the carpark, poorlayout and a set of buildings that are surely falling apart.

Compare to Tebay/Gloucester services and you can see why gridserv is stomping ahead quickly. and then their pricing is perfect, they break even on charging over a few years and get more business on sites as well which will help bury Ionity's stupid pricing too. They may be slightly off the motorway but its the best way IMO, similar to the US model for service areas as not many of them are directly on the highways. Next is for Gridserv to spread into France and Europe i hope.
 

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MSAs are not the most glamorous locations, but they do serve a purpose. (For ICE drivers, at least.)

Easy access, well-signed, reliable, open 24-hours, free toilets, free parking (within reason), hot food and drinks, stiff penalties for running out of fuel. And there’s probably one in the next 30 miles.

As well as the famed Ecotricity near- monopoly, there’s also the problem of power. A lot of the motorway network is rural, or at least not very urban. There just isn’t the local infrastructure to slap 20 ultra rapids in every MSA without significant investment.
 

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Have you seen the price for Ionity? Instavolt excellent in the main.
Instavolt are reliable, but the high price makes them just about my last choice. I would only use Ionity in an absolute emergency.

With Ecotricity it seems like you get an equal chance of a failed charge, a free charge or a paid charge. It makes it an exciting gamble.
 

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MSAs are not the most glamorous locations, but they do serve a purpose. (For ICE drivers, at least.)

Easy access, well-signed, reliable, open 24-hours, free toilets, free parking (within reason), hot food and drinks, stiff penalties for running out of fuel. And there’s probably one in the next 30 miles.

As well as the famed Ecotricity near- monopoly, there’s also the problem of power. A lot of the motorway network is rural, or at least not very urban. There just isn’t the local infrastructure to slap 20 ultra rapids in every MSA without significant investment.
True, But getting power to a site isnt impossible, just costs money and time and IMO its not worth investing in them when they wont even invest in keeping the sites looking semi decent to start with and high lease costs for space at the sites mean just off motorway can be much much cheaper, and means a single site could serve both directions of a motorway more easily so again, reduced cost.
 

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The problem isn't Ecotricity's perceived monopoly at services. They don't really have one. Even if they did, someone can always build on a side road or junction. Until this year there was an unwillingness of any other provider to make the investment.


I doubt anyone is making money operating rapid chargers.

Gridserv are making their operational costs but only because they sell more than charging. They have retail. Gridserv also have generation and storage. They are able to sell battery stored power into peak demand.
 

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Problem for charging networks is they have to support chademo, CCS and type 2 at least. Which makes the towers a lot more expensive. It would help if car manufacturers standardised on maybe 2 systems...CCS + type 2. If all cars had CCS capability then that would also cover for home charging and simplify towers.

Govt is talking about investment, but I agree, the motorway net is pretty poor. Not bothered about being able to choose, but having 3-6 towers with more than one CCS would-be a good start.

Reliability is the main issue. That's only covered by a good monitoring system...which ecotricity don't seem to have. A 3 day response time when you're fighting a broken tower isn't helpful.

Second is payment. That needs to be standardised. Too many apps that work in too many ways.

Ironically, off motorway, things seem better. Shell is exactly the right model although a few pence more expensive than it should be. Podpoint is reliable, but don't seem to have good CCS.

Right now I think ecotricity investment is the problem....have they run out of cash? Many sites don't even have CCS making them worthless for most drivers, w.g. M4 Leigh delamere westbound.
You do talk a lot of BS. Adding an additional DC outlet to a rapid is a very small percentage of the installed cost including electricity supply and civils.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
True, But getting power to a site isnt impossible, just costs money and time and IMO its not worth investing in them when they wont even invest in keeping the sites looking semi decent to start with and high lease costs for space at the sites mean just off motorway can be much much cheaper, and means a single site could serve both directions of a motorway more easily so again, reduced cost.
Ahhh - that makes a lot of sense. Yes I can see how the economics work now. Thank you!

Regarding the pricing for Ionity, I don't mean to sound trite but I really don't care about the price that much. I have 2 kids, and when we're travelling on long journeys being able to charge reliably is easily the most important aspect. I only use rapids a dozen or so times a year and so don't really care paying massively over the spot price for power. As long as the things work. I think a lot of people would have the same opinion. Sure, if you use them once a week its nuts, and I think their pricing is OTT but as I said, that's not my primary concern when travelling.

I guess over the next couple of years, with the main networks all supporting contactless, things will get better. If I have to download another broken android app I'm going to cry.
 

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You do talk a lot of BS. Adding an additional DC outlet to a rapid is a very small percentage of the installed cost including electricity supply and civils.
Well thanks for the personal attack, completely legit and well deserved on my part. No doubt I will learn from it.

FYI - adding an outlet to an existing tower is NOT simple as you probably wouldn't add the same outlet type as you already have which probably means a whole new set of electricals inside the tower.

Also, adding an outlet to a tower is not the solution - each tower only services one vehicle at a time, so if you only have two towers, they can have 4 connectors each, but that's two vehicles. We need more towers. Perhaps you didn't get that point? Sorry, next time I won't hide it in what you think of as BS.
 

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High price? 35 pence per kWh. That's not expensive. Especially if you have to pay 15 pence per kWh at home.
It's a reasonable price when you expect the units to be actually working, unlike some other networks. 35p also deters hogging the chargers. Users will likely only take what they need to get to a destination or another charger.

The one time I tried to charge at shell, an Etron was there already he said he was going to be there for some time. How true that was I don't know as some people will do/say strange things (look up the duvet guy on another thread). I once arrived at a single charge unit which had a PHEV taxi plugged in on AC, ok it may have been 22kW! The driver wouldn't even acknowledge my existence.
 

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I can't help think that the economics of these chargers is wonderful for the suppliers. Yes they need to get power to the site and install the chargers but they are not paying 15p a kWh; I would guess nearer 10p. We do pay VAT at 20% on usage but there is a big mark up. Once chargers are regularly dispensing 200 kWh a day they will collect £25200 a year at 36p a kWh (inc VAT). The Instavolt setup at Banbury is likely to be a goldmine, the odd BP Pulse charger in a pub car park more problematic, more likely to be vandalised and be out of order and ultimately be ignored by the EV user.
 

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High price? 35 pence per kWh. That's not expensive. Especially if you have to pay 15 pence per kWh at home. It's not bad at all. Especially compared to ICE.
At 35p per kWh it's as expensive as diesel. I have occasionally used Instavolt, but my preferred order would generally be sorted by price. I pay 12.5p at home for the units that don't come free from the sun. I tend to plan my long journeys around cheap charging. Podpoint, BP Pulse 50kW and Ecotricity (with the chance of a free vend) would all be higher on my list. Shell and Ionity would only be in an emergency.
 
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