Kim Henson reports.
Power supplier Ecotricity has shocked owners of electric vehicles (of which there are estimated to be around 75,000 on UK roads) by announcing that from now on it will be making a charge of £6 for every 30 minutes of fast recharge/top-up for drivers using its charging points across the UK (except for Ecotricity customers, who will continue to be able to recharge their vehicles at zero cost).
This makes the running of any electric vehicle that requires a top-up ‘en route’ (usually to around 80 per cent of battery capacity in about half an hour) an expensive proposition.
It’s bad enough for ‘pure’ electric vehicles with relatively long ranges (typically between 100 and 250 miles, depending on the vehicle), but for people running plug-in hybrid cars with short driving ranges (often around 30 to 50 miles), this means that it will become VERY expensive indeed to top up these models – for a car with a range on battery power of (say) 32 miles, this means that from now on it will cost £6 for around 25 miles – much more than the cost of running most internal combustion engine cars (even those with large conventional engines) running on petrol or diesel.
The move has enraged many drivers who have invested their hard-earned cash in electric vehicles for environmental and cost reasons.
This is unfortunate, and very bad news, to say the least. However, why should anyone be surprised? After all, the drivers of the affected vehicles – who run electric cars for all the right reasons – have been in a captive market that was just waiting to be turned into a cash machine… As with the fossil-fuel suppliers and successive governments (through decade after decade), now it’s the turn of the the electricity suppliers to have motorists over a barrel (although not of oil, this time), figuratively speaking.