Currently, at motorway service stations you will only find one brand of EV chargers - Ecotricity. However, the government has set out plans to break this monopoly and give EV drivers more choice in their charging services.
Ecotricity has been heavily criticised by EV drivers for its “outdated and unreliable hardware” that has made their long journeys chaotic and “unpredictable”. The Transport Minister, Rachel Maclean, has said that the government will aim to provide at least six high-power chargers from other providers will be fitted at each service station by 2023.
She said: “We do believe it will take government investment to ‘charge up’ this market. So we’ve got nearly £1 billion to upgrade those connections at motorway service stations.” While adding that these chargers will be capable of at least 150kW charging, versus the current 41-50kW rate, that will make it possible for drivers to charge their car “in the time it takes to get a cup of coffee.”
A spokesman for the RAC, Rod Dennis, said: “This is extremely welcome news as charging electric cars at motorway service areas needs to be fast, reliable and easy to pay for so drivers can make longer journeys with the minimum of fuss.”
The government will also make it easy for EV drivers to pay for charging by making contactless payments available at all terminals so they are available to everyone. Where as some charging networks currently require you to have fob to be able to user their chargers.
Rod Dennis claims that these changes will help prove to would-be EV drivers than ‘range anxiety’ isn’t such a worry anymore and hope this will speed up the adoption of electric vehicles.
He said: “Nothing is more frustrating to an electric car driver than the sight of an out-of-order charge point, so the fact that there will be a commitment to having chargers ‘in service’ will make a big difference.” He added: “The promise of clear pricing is also important.”
In addition, the Transport Minister has noted that government spending on EV infrastructure in local councils will be doubling and that EV owners are urged to contact their local council if there isn’t a nearby public charger in their area.
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