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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I can't find any really recent figures for Ecotricity's accounts but it's pretty clear that the Electric Highway is going to be running at a loss for the foreseeable future. At current usage levels maintenance costs alone are likely to be higher than the small take from usage charges and where money for extra, or replacement chargers is likely to come from I find hard to imagine.

The recent temporary removal of one of the chargers at Woodall North seems like a bad sign. In an operation that was in growth then there would have been replacement chargers in the pipeline. They would have swapped out the charger and then repaired the faulty unit and put it in somewhere else.

And the existing EH chargers are beginning to show their age. The screens seem faded, often hard to read when the sun is on them, and the buttons are starting to show the effects of sunlight on plastic. I gather a lot of the problems we're seeing are due to water penetration, definitely a symptom of old age.

You will say, of course, that there are other networks. I would argue, however, that they aren't really networks, just chargers installed at random businesses and often intended for customers only. There's no strategic planning.

Yes, you can get away with charging at an IKEA or a LIDL location even though you really have no interest in using the store. But how long do you think the stores in question will put up with that? I Gather IKEA are already complaining. I mean, how often do you want to buy furniture when you need a charge?
 

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The only people who should be worried about the future of the Electric Highway are Ecotricity themselves.

If they fall over there are several other providers who will swoop in the moment they can and probably do a lot better job. So in a way, we should be hoping for them to fail and get out of the way...as long as it is not too long and protracted..

As for the IKEA location for EH rapid chargers - never made sense to me at all to have a rapid charger at a "long stay" store like an IKEA, where there is no such thing as going in for just a few minutes! A very poor fit, especially if you are charged £6 (as you originally were) and then had to go through the faff of presenting your ticket to the store for a refund. Easier to just not bother with the charger at all.

Here in Glasgow the IKEA has an EH rapid but I've never seen it used. There is a CPS unit half a mile away at Braehead arena in parking with a multitude of shops around it, and at the moment free to use. Even once they start charging I doubt anyone will start using the IKEA EH unit.
 

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Ikea should have always had large banks of type 2 chargers. They're a destination.
No sign of them understanding this despite some valiant attempts at greenness - PV and plug in companies.

Back on topic. IMO EH was always a bet by Dale to cash in by being sold to some one else.
He was hoping for a load of good PR to offset the costs in the meantime but that isn't working out so well :)
Hence the minimal current investment.
Will be interesting to see what was said when the latest Fully Charged Live show is available as he was on that. Anyone here got a summary?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The only people who should be worried about the future of the Electric Highway are Ecotricity themselves.

If they fall over there are several other providers who will swoop in the moment they can and probably do a lot better job. So in a way, we should be hoping for them to fail and get out of the way...as long as it is not too long and protracted..
Really? If the EH is, as I'm pretty sure it is, a loss making exercise? Actually I heard on the radio this morning that the government is currently working on a bill for the advancement of EVs, which includes clauses to ensure chargers on MSAs.

As for the IKEA location for EH rapid chargers - never made sense to me at all to have a rapid charger at a "long stay" store like an IKEA, where there is no such thing as going in for just a few minutes! A very poor fit, especially if you are charged £6 (as you originally were) and then had to go through the faff of presenting your ticket to the store for a refund. Easier to just not bother with the charger at all.

Here in Glasgow the IKEA has an EH rapid but I've never seen it used. There is a CPS unit half a mile away at Braehead arena in parking with a multitude of shops around it, and at the moment free to use. Even once they start charging I doubt anyone will start using the IKEA EH unit.
I quite agree. IKEA is a crazy place for rapid chargers, and yet there are probably more at IKEAs than in, say, public carparks or other, more sensible locations. Which just illustrates the absence of any strategy. I'm assuming IKEA is paying for these chargers. Certainly they aren't paying for themselves, and wouldn't have been even when you had to pay. I suspect the power costs are only a fraction of maintenance costs, and as the machines age those costs will only increase.

For LIDL it's a slightly more credible proposition. Well, it certainly gets me into their shops sometimes, but I'm not the last of the big spenders.
 

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You have question just what Ecotricity's long term plan is for the future of the Electric Highway, judging by the lack of maintenance.

When I first got an EV and started using the EH, I assumed the company would soon get bought out by a much larger company (like BP have subsequently done with Chargemaster), although it's possible Dale's ethical principles wouldn't want that.

If, as many have commented, the company's licences at motorway service areas start running out in the next couple of years, then I can't see any way out for them, as presumably it would be cheaper for competitors to install new chargers piecemeal at favoured sites rather than buying Ecotricity, and then have to rip out all the old chargers and install replacements?

The issue will be what sort of time frame it would take for any additional networks to actually install any new chargers at MSAs.
 

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Remember Dale Vince said the Electric Highway got the funds it needed to take it forward from the out of court legal settlement with Tesla - I don't think any of us know the amount.

And it is arguably also pretty good marketing for their core utility business - huge footfall past their branded chargers.

In the recent fully charged interview, Dale also said they are planning to role out the much faster rapid chargers.

So no reason to anticipate the Electric Highway demise I can see.
 

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Back on topic. IMO EH was always a bet by Dale to cash in by being sold to some one else.
He was hoping for a load of good PR to offset the costs in the meantime but that isn't working out so well :)
Hence the minimal current investment.
Will be interesting to see what was said when the latest Fully Charged Live show is available as he was on that. Anyone here got a summary?
There's been a fair bit on twitter - none of which will fill you with confidence.

Some quotes from the FCL show at Bristol:

'All (yes ALL !) CCS chargers will be sorted by the end of next week' Does that sound plucked out of the air to you ?

Then later.......'All CCS sorted by the weekend' Keep it vague eh. Don't mention any dates !

I'm also puzzled as to why they think it's just CCS - I run a Leaf and avoid EH where possible because the Chademos don't work. I ring the phone line every time (when it's manned) so they can't pretend they don't know.

As for hoping for good PR it ain't coming soon - a journo did a piece in the some rag where she had to be flatbedded due to more than one u/s EH chargepoint. So she slated EH in the article (Nissan Leaf range is 160 miles and good luck finding a charging point | Daily Mail Online )

and even got some quotes from Mr Vince -

'We were losing money from the start so we're going to make the service worse to see if that helps'

(I may have paraphrased slightly)

and 'Our chargers are only getting 4% utilisation'

Yes mate - that's 'cos 96% of them don't work.

Anyway - if you're a believer it will all be sweetness and light by the weekend. Or maybe the next weekend.

I'll judge them by their actions.
 

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How many chargers have ecotricity installed in 2018? They announced a contract with some petrol station group. Have any been installed?

They keep announcing faster chargers are coming. It's their go to excuse for why their network isn't maintained.
 

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Really? If the EH is, as I'm pretty sure it is, a loss making exercise?
So because EH can't make a profit at MSA's, nobody can ? Umm, ok... I guess we should all just give up on electric cars then...

To name just some of their problems -

1) No simultaneous AC/DC on any of their units. (lost utilisation potential for machines and parking spaces)

2) No CCS at many locations, and those that have it have only one CCS that is usually unreliable. (so CCS drivers avoid EH entirely)

3) A very high percentage of chargers either not working or on free vend. (no profit from running on free vend, fears of chargers not working causing drivers to avoid going there in the first place)

4) No ability to walk up and present a debit card like Instavolt, and not even any RFID card support anymore. Having to faff with an unreliable smartphone app to use the thing at all. What about people without the latest smartphones, or those who just don't want to go there and prey that the app is working ?

5) Insufficient chargers per site to keep queue times low enough and utilisation high enough to make profitability feasible. If you're expecting a long queue you might as well go to a competitor a few miles away with more units.

6) No out of hours telephone support. Still ?

Shall I keep going ? Every single one of those points can be addressed by other networks, and many networks have addressed most of these points. (No one network has quite addressed all points yet though)

Contrast that to something like the CPS hubs going in at Dundee with 6 AC posts in a row, 6 triple head, simultaneous AC/DC rapid chargers in a row which support both RFID and App. (not contactless yet unfortunately)

They're free to use at the moment but I can guarantee they'll still be heavily used when CPS start charging.

You seem to be implying that no other operator would want to install at MSA's because they couldn't make a profit or simply don't want to bother.

This is completely false - multiple other charging networks have said they want to go in at MSA's and the only thing that is keeping them out is EH's exclusivity contracts...as soon as those are up or EH goes bust other networks will move in...
Actually I heard on the radio this morning that the government is currently working on a bill for the advancement of EVs, which includes clauses to ensure chargers on MSAs.
They could start by stripping away EH's monopoly so that other networks actually can install at MSA's ? ;)
 

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The reliability of EH chargers is its biggest killer. Second biggest would be the lack of chargers at very critical location (MSA).

It was because of EH I took my EV on a long trip, once, when I first bought it last year. But it's also because of EH I now never drive it outside of its home range. EH is also the reason I value Tesla (with their supercharger network) waaaaaay more than other large battery EV.

Motorway services need to have at very least 2 working chargers at all times, more than 4 at dual direction stations and even more at junction services. The possibility of 40min queuing + 40min charging, if you are lucky the charger is working in the first place, makes driving EV long distance a total no-go.

Also, thanks EH for stuff like this: Nissan Leaf range is 160 miles and good luck finding a charging point | Daily Mail Online
(sorry for DM link)
 

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Ecotricity do not have a monopoly at motorway services. (edit) Tesla have chargers there. And when approached Ecotricity WANTED to work with Tesla to be there - before the fall out.

What evidence do people have to say that others have been excluded? Capacity may have been reached at some sites?

Should we be campaigning for others to have access to the key hotel sites by airports etc etc that Polar have done a deal with? Is that a monopoly?

I use Ecotricity Chademo chargers regularly, including yesterday. Is a long time since one hasn't worked. And reliability is an issue with this new technology on other networks, according to an engineer working for Instavolt.

Ecotricity is not perfect. But they did not just follow the grants, like Polar in Milton Keynes, and took the initiative to put their own money into creating a motorway network. They are mission driven, and I continue to support and applaud them.
 

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2) No CCS at many locations, and those that have it have only one CCS that is usually unreliable. (so CCS drivers avoid EH entirely)
Not quite correct: 13 locations have 2 CCS connectors.

6) No out of hours telephone support. Still ?
You don't count 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week as out of hours?

Sure 24 hour support might be better but at least it's not premium rate: I see Polar are still listing the 0845 number for support on their website even though that has been illegal for at least 4 years.
 
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Ecotricity do not have a monopoly at motorway services. Tesla do. And when approached Ecotricity WANTED to work with Tesla to be there - before the fall out.

What evidence do people have to say that others have been excluded? Capacity may have been reached at some sites?
I suggest you do a little homework on the situation. It's well known in the industry that Ecotricity have exclusive contracts with most of the MSA's. It was even mentioned in a recent government working committee.

What evidence do YOU have to suggest that Tesla have exclusive agreements to lock out anyone else ? First I've heard of this.

What actually happened is Tesla tried to negotiate site access with EH, fell out with them, went ahead anyway, had a court battle with them and reached an undisclosed settlement that probably entailed Tesla handing over a lot of money to EH to allow them to stay.

Nobody else is willing to get into a big court battle with EH, they'd rather just ride out the remaining period of exclusivity then move in.
 

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Ecotricity do not have a monopoly at motorway services. Tesla do. And when approached Ecotricity WANTED to work with Tesla to be there - before the fall out.

What evidence do people have to say that others have been excluded? Capacity may have been reached at some sites?

Should we be campaigning for others to have access to the key hotel sites by airports etc etc that Polar have done a deal with? Is that a monopoly?

I use Ecotricity Chademo chargers regularly, including yesterday. Is a long time since one hasn't worked. And reliability is an issue with this new technology on other networks, according to an engineer working for Instavolt.

Ecotricity is not perfect. But they did not just follow the grants, like Polar in Milton Keynes, and took the initiative to put their own money into creating a motorway network. They are mission driven, and I continue to support and applaud them.
Ecotricity have an exclusive arrangement with Welcome Break and other MSA operators. This has stopped other networks installing chargers.

A good summary of the fall out between Tesla and Ecotricity is at this link

Tesla loses latest battle with Ecotricity
 

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Not quite correct: 13 locations have 2 CCS connectors.
Two working CCS connectors ? :whistle:
You don't count 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week as out of hours?
Nope. Fat lot of use to me if I'm on my way home at 9pm at night and can't get a hold of anyone due to the charger not working...

People do in fact drive outside of the hours of 8am to 8pm...
 

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8:01 to 7:59 for me - otherwise the Boogie man cometh... :p
 

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Ecotricity have an exclusive arrangement with Welcome Break and other MSA operators. This has stopped other networks installing chargers.

A good summary of the fall out between Tesla and Ecotricity is at this link

Tesla loses latest battle with Ecotricity
Tesla have chargers at the motorway services, it is not a monopoly. Polar did not want to go into the motorway services 5 years ago because there were no grants for them to do so
 

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Ecotricity have an exclusive arrangement with Welcome Break and other MSA operators.
Pretty sure that it's not exclusive at Welcome Break any more. There's Tesla superchargers at
Welcome Break Fleet Services
Welcome Break South Mimms Services
Welcome Break Membury Services
Welcome Break Oxford (Wheatley) Services
Welcome Break Michaelwood Services
Welcome Break Gordano Services
Welcome Break Sarn Park Services
and plenty more
 

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People saying that there is no exclusivity contract because Tesla also have chargers there, obviously did not read the articles posted by proddick a few posts ago, or keep up with the news in the last couple of years... ;)

Tesla and EH settled out of court after a dispute, this is why Tesla have chargers at these EH locations and nobody else.

MSA's are most definitely not open to all comers to install chargers, and while EH may have done a backroom deal with Tesla - they are not a direct competitor since Leaf's, Zoes etc can't charge at Superchargers... They are highly unlikely to do a deal with a direct competitor like Chargemaster that is competing for the same customer base. And any such deal would be entirely at EH's discretion.
 

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People saying that there is no exclusivity contract because Tesla also have chargers there, obviously did not read the articles posted by proddick a few posts ago, or keep up with the news in the last couple of years... ;)

Tesla and EH settled out of court after a dispute, this is why Tesla have chargers at these EH locations and nobody else.

MSA's are most definitely not open to all comers to install chargers, and while EH may have done a backroom deal with Tesla - they are not a direct competitor since Leaf's, Zoes etc can't charge at Superchargers... They are highly unlikely to do a deal with a direct competitor like Chargemaster that is competing for the same customer base. And any such deal would be entirely at EH's discretion.
I say Ecotricity do not have an exclusivity agreement BECAUSE I have kept up with the news.

Dale is on record as saying when first approached by Tesla they were keen to work with them, even gave Tesla staff the contact details for motorway services executives.

It was only after a Tesla staff member accidentally sent an email to Ecotricity that he had meant for internal use, which disclosed a plan to push out Ecotricity from the services and make them look like the bad guys, that the fall out and law suit transpired
 
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