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Public EV charging costs continue to climb as wholesale prices bite

InstaVolt is one of several to advocate for a reduction in VAT to help lower costs. Image: InstaVolt

InstaVolt is one of several to advocate for a reduction in VAT to help lower costs. Image: InstaVolt

Chargepoint operators (CPOs) across UK and Ireland's electric vehicle (EV) charging sectors have raised their prices as a result of the “soaring” energy prices seen since last year.

Following on from GRIDSERVE announcing a price hike to 48p/kWh for medium power chargers and 50p/kWh for high power chargers earlier this month, Current± reached out to other CPOs to see if they’re following suit.

InstaVolt

InstaVolt – which alongside GRIDSERVE and a range of other CPOs raised its prices last year due to the ongoing energy crisis – has increased prices as of 4 May. It now costs 57p/kWh to charge on InstaVolt’s rapid charging network.

Adrian Keen, InstaVolt’s CEO, said: “Electricity is by far our greatest cost, and the volatile energy market and record high inflation means we face no choice but to pass on some of these costs to consumers. We have tried to minimise how much we pass to consumers and absorb costs where possible.”

ESB

Prices for charging on ESB’s network have risen in Ireland, Birmingham and Coventry and London in recent months – with this also attributed to the wholesale cost of electricity.

In Ireland, ESB’s new pricing as of 5 May 2022 for members ranges from €0.35/kWh (30p/kWh) for standard charging to €0.44/kWh for high-power charging, with a €4.99 (£4.27) monthly subscription.

For PAYG drivers, it ranges from €0.39 for standard charging to €0.48 for high-power.

In Birmingham and Coventry, ESB’s new pricing as of 29 March for members ranges from 38p/kWh for fast charging to 42p/kWh for rapid charging, with a £4.99 monthly subscription.

For PAYG drivers, it ranges from 40p/kWh for fast charging to 45p/kWh for rapid. Taxis also have their own pricing (38p/kWh for fast charging and 42p/kWh for rapid).

In London, ESB’s new pricing for rapid charging as of 14 February is 42p/kWh for members, 45p/kWh for PAYG and 42p/kWh for taxis.

Referencing the increase in the wholesale cost of electricity, ESB said: “This substantial increase in our operational costs means we are unable to continue to provide our service to you without having to increase the charging rates on our network.”

The company added that charging in Northern Ireland will continue to be free to use in the short term while it continues its network upgrade programme.

Osprey

Osprey – one of the charging networks to raise prices in 2021 – put up its price from 40p/kWh to 49p/kWh at the end of Q1 2022.

This is a flat rate however, with the CPO pointing out that there are no other fees and no account required to charge on its network.

“We review this figure when there is a significant change in the elements comprising the cost to us of installing and running the network: hardware, infrastructure installation, electricity supply, maintenance of the charge points and business operational costs,” CEO Ian Johnston said.

Johnston also mentioned the confirmation from HMRC last year that VAT on the electricity used for public charging is 20% - not the 5% some CPOs had been charging. He said this prevented Osprey from passing on a VAT saving to its account customers, leading to a small increase in price at the time.

InstaVolt’s Keen also commented on the VAT clarification, having been vocal on the issue previously. In his statement regarding the price increases, Keen said InstaVolt continues to support a reduction in VAT, stating that the current rate is “discriminating against those who don’t have access to home charging”.

“We are raising awareness to align the rates of both public and private charging,” he said.

Q1 2022’s price increase, however, like other CPOs, comes as a result of the soaring energy prices, Johnston said, adding that Osprey is continuing to monitor the cost of electricity.

Mer

In a statement to Current±, Mer confirmed that it took the “difficult decision” to increase its prices in line with the ongoing energy crisis and the resulting rising costs. A spokesperson said that the company is investing in the UK’s charging infrastructure, and is aiming to “grow out business in a steady and sustainable manner”.

The company’s current pricing is 33p/kWh for registered users to fast charge and 35p/kWh for guest users, 37p/kWh for registered users to semi-rapid charge and 39p/kWh for guests and 41p/kWh for rapid charging for registered users and 43p/kWh for guests.

Shell Recharge Solutions and ubitricity

While Shell Recharge Solutions didn’t provide Current± with any information on whether its pricing has risen, a spokesperson did point this publication in the direction of the company’s pricing information on its website.

This lists its pricing as 55p/kWh for rapid charging at Shell service stations, 59p/kWh for ultra-rapid charging at Shell service stations, 45p/kWh for fast charging on the roaming network and 55p/kWh for rapid charging on the roaming network.

Shell Recharge Solutions’ website also includes information on ubitricity, which was acquired by Shell last year.

From 1 May, ubitricity’s chargers rose from 24p/kWh to 32p/kWh.

IONITY

IONITY, meanwhile, confirmed to Current± it has no plans to raise its pricing. The company has two payment options: IONITY DIRECT and IONITY PASSPORT.

DIRECT requires no registration and no subscription, charging drivers 69p/kWh.

PASSPORT is a 12 month subscription at £16.99 a month, and charges drivers 35p/KWh.

Current± also reached out to MFG for clarity on if it had raised prices, but had not yet received information at the time of writing.

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