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Ecotricity announces plans to charge for electric car recharges

Electric car ownership will soon become more expensive as one of Britain’s largest charger providers has announced plans to start charging for a 20-minute top-up.

Ecotricity said it will offer electric car owners a rapid charge of up to 20 minutes at a cost of £5, where previously the service was entirely free across its entire network.

Payment will be possible through a new mobile app on Android and iOS that will also provide a map of where the nearest electric pump is and its availability, giving users easier access to 296 ‘Ecotricity Pumps’ throughout Britain – 276 of which are of the rapid variety.

In an official statement, Ecotricity said usage had trebled in 2015 and that it played a key role in helping electric cars get off the ground, but now needed to charge for the service ‘in order to maintain and grow the network’.

Ecotricity will begin manually adjusting each charger from the 11th of July 2016 and the work is expected to be completed by the 5th of August in the same year. It said the rollout will be gradual, meaning some chargers will continue to be free later than others.

The electric charging network was keen to point out it has provided 30 million miles and £2.5 million pounds worth of free travel since 2011. In May 2016 alone, it powered 2,170,625 miles of travel for 10,121 customers as part of 43,211 separate charges.

Electric Highway chargers are now said to be across 96 per cent of the British motorway network and that 38,537 customers hold Electric Highway cards used in operating an electric car charger.

While this may seem like a backward step given that free charging is a big incentive for wannabe electric car owners, it should help Ecotricity build more and more electric pumps, which would diminish the issue of range anxiety somewhat.

It is also worth noting most electric cars cost more than their electric and diesel counterparts in terms of upfront cost, which would suggest the owners have a higher level of disposable of income and are, therefore, more likely to be able to afford a home charger and increased running costs.

Even so, those who really scraped hard for an electric car and use them for longer journeys will no doubt take issue with having to dig even deeper each year.

Perhaps Ecotricity is being a tad hasty, given that although the future is bright for electric cars, there is a long way to go in persuading the mainstream they are the future.

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