Why have you installed this network?
To kickstart Britain’s electric car revolution!
Before the Electric Highway, people didn’t buy electric cars because of the lack of charging facilities. And people didn’t build charging facilities because not enough people bought electric cars. Classic chicken and egg stuff.
Another barrier to the faster take-up of electric cars was something called ‘range anxiety’ – the fear of running out of juice when travelling any serious kind of distance.
This is where our Electric Highway comes in – Britain’s first and biggest national car charging network, our mission is to make it easier for electric vehicle owners to make long distance journeys – to help make EVs the logical choice for Britain’s drivers.
Why a motorway network?
Because that’s where electricity pumps are most needed. Before the Electric Highway, the big focus for charging facilities was towns and city centres – but that’s where they’re needed least.
You only need to look at car use statistics for the answer. The average car in Britain travels around 20 miles a day, a distance most modern electric cars can sustain for almost a week without needing to charge. Most car owners have access to off-street parking (70 per cent apparently) and are able to charge at home at night.
So most cars don’t need to charge most days. It’s longer journeys where charging is most needed. As well as the motorway network, we’ve also installed electricity pumps at IKEA stores, Liverpool and Birmingham airports, and plan to roll out to strategic A roads in the future.
What kind of electricity pumps do you have?
How much does it cost to use the Electric Highway?
It costs 30p per unit of energy at our pumps, or 15p per unit for Ecotricity customers.
[Note: The offer is not available for business energy customers].
You’ll need to download our Electric Highway app to be able to charge your car.
Why has the unit fee been set at 30p/kWh?
We’ve been monitoring the use of the network and listening to customer feedback since we originally started charging in 2016 – and we think the new pricing structure gives more flexibility and typically lower charging costs across all makes and models of electric car.
Why has Ecotricity chosen to change the way it charges?
To provide a better, fairer and more sophisticated approach to charging.
The new model that we’ve developed will give more flexibility and typically lower charging costs across all makes and models. It also means that we can reflect the cost of installing and running the infrastructure, not just the cost of energy.
It’s simple – you only pay for exactly what you use.
Why does my bank account show a pending payment to you?
We haven’t collected that amount from your account. Before each charge, just after you’ve entered the three-digit security code on the back of your card (CV2 code), we basically ring-fence £12 (or £6 for Ecotricity energy customers) in your bank account or credit card to make sure that there’s enough money in your account to pay for the charge session. We don’t actually take the payment from your account – we just ask your bank to set it aside so that it’s available to pay for a charge up to that amount.
When your charge session finishes, we’ll only request a payment for what you’ve actually used and the ring-fence around the rest of the money will be removed, making it available for you to spend again.
To give you an example, you turn up at the pump, go through the quick process to charge up using the app, put in your CV2 code, and we then ring-fence £12 in your account. If you charge up to a cost of £4.70 – we would request £4.70 from your account out of the £12 we’ve ring-fenced, and the rest of the ring-fenced £12 becomes available for you again.
To begin with, you’ll see the ring-fence payment on your statement – but within two or three days it will update to show that we’ve only actually taken £4.70 out of your account.
Sometimes it can take up to six working days for everything to be processed by the bank, but if you’re concerned that an incorrect payment amount is showing on your statement more than six working days after your charge session, just get in touch and we’ll look into it for you.
How do I get a discount to use the Electric Highway?
It’s easy – you just need to be an Ecotricity energy customer. You pay 15p per kWh - around the same price you would pay to charge up at home.
There are three easy steps to get a discount:
Step 1: Switch your electricity and gas (or just electricity if you don't have gas supply) to Ecotricity
Step 2: Create an Eco ID
Your Eco ID allows you to access your Ecotricity energy account and the Electric Highway app with the same login details. You can create your Eco ID once you've completed your online energy switch.
Download the Electric Highway App and register using your Eco ID.
That's it! Your Electric Highway and energy accounts are now linked and you'll pay 15p per kWh as long as you have a live energy account with us.
All of our Medium AC (slow) chargers will remain free for all customers with a registered swipe card.
I am already an Ecotricity customer - what happens to my 52 free charges?
If you previously signed up and received 52 free charges, you’ll be able to use these until:
- A year after you registered for the app
- Or, a year after your energy supply went live with us
- Or, you’ve used your 52 charges.
As soon as one of the above applies to you, your 52 free charges will end and we’ll transfer you to the new charging model.
I’m an Ecotricity customer – why do I now have to pay for the energy during a session rather than receiving 52 free charges?
Initially we thought that 52 free charges was a good benefit for all Ecotricity customers. However, after monitoring use of the network, and following feedback from users, we’ve seen that some people use far more whilst others use far less than 52 charges – so to be more flexible, we’re providing an uncapped discount that will benefit everyone.
I’m an Ecotricity customer – why is the unit rate for energy on the Electric Highway less than the unit rate that I’m paying at home?
We’ve set the unit rate at an amount that you would typically pay at home, but there will be some variations to that unit rate – which are due to regional variations of actually delivering energy to your home.
Why have I have been charged more than once?
Once a charge session has started, the payment is pending until the system recognises if the session was successful or unsuccessful - payment will only be taken for successful charges.
You may see that the cost shows as unavailable in your bank account for up to six working days after an unsuccessful charge. However, we will not collect the payment and you will see it available again after this period.
Will charging sessions still only last 30 minutes?
We have increased the maximum charging session time to 45 minutes.
We think this will allow more flexibility for those customers wishing to charge for a little longer than the current half hour session, whilst the pence per kWh unit rate will also help those who don’t want to spend as long at a pump.
What if I only want a quick top up?
You can charge for as long as you want up to the max charge session of 45 minutes. This means if you want to charge for a shorter period of time you can – and you’ll only pay for the energy delivered within the time period you’re connected.
Will IKEA still offer a discount?
Please visit the IKEA website for information about discounts they offer for electric vehicle drivers.
I’ve still got an old version of the app on my phone and can’t charge – what can I do?
If your phone isn’t set to automatically update apps, then you will have to update manually.
For Apple phones, just go to the App Store and click on Updates.
For Android phones, go to the Play Store, click on Menu and select My Apps & Games. Then for The Electric Highway app click on Update.
Once your phone has updated to the new version of the app, you’ll be able to start a charge
Is the Electric Highway app secure?
Yes – we take security very seriously. All of our apps, websites and online services are routinely tested by accredited third parties.
Our app doesn’t store any information about you on the device – this data is called from our systems each time it’s used. All data that passes between our apps and supporting systems is encrypted – SHA-256, if you're security savvy.
We don’t store credit card details on our apps or in our backend systems. This data is stored with Sage Pay – our payment gateway that uses secure tokens to enable transactions.
We’d recommend that you still take sensible precautions with your device. Don't share your passwords or access codes with anyone else, for example. The same applies to your Eco ID – this is your username and password that gives you access to all of your Ecotricity services.
Can I still use my swipe card to charge my car now that you’ve introduced charging for charging?
No, we’ve created a smartphone app that you can use to operate Electric Highway pumps.
The app is available to download from the website now.
The only pumps that will still require a swipe card are the 16 medium AC units that we have on the network.
How do I use the electricity pumps?
It’s easy – you just need our Electric Highway app to charge your car at our pumps. You can download that here.
How do I know if an electricity pump is up and running?
You can check the location and the status of all our pumps on the Electric Highway app.
Are the electricity pumps situated on both sides of the motorway?
In most cases, if there are motorway services on both sides of the carriageway, there'll be electricity pumps at each. There are a few exceptions to this however, so please always check our Electric Highway app or our online map before making your journey.
I've registered for a swipe card but not received it. What's happening?
It takes up to 14 days for your card to arrive. If you still haven’t received it by then, please call Ecotricity customer services on 01453 761455 or ping us an email.
Please be aware that swipe cards can only be used with our medium AC chargers.
Our fast chargers are operated by the Electric Highway app, which you can download here.
Can I reserve an electricity pump in advance or tell if it’s being used?
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to reserve an electricity pump. However, using the Electric Highway app, you’ll be able to check whether a pump on the Electric Highway is available in real time.
Will you expand the existing sites as more people get electric vehicles?
Yes, since we founded the Electric Highway we’ve installed around 300 pumps across the country and we plan to add more pumps to highways, A roads and urban areas.
What happens if my battery is very low and I need to stay longer than the two hours ‘allowed’ to charge up by motorway services?
Each charging session lasts for a maximum of 45 minutes, but you’ll be able to charge your car for two sessions in a row.
Car parking charges will apply as normal after the allocated free period at each motorway service station. If you have any questions about how to pay for parking, please contact the motorway services where you’ll be charging. If you need to stay longer, please ask to speak to the site duty manager.
Why have you installed Wi-Fi hotspots at Electric Highway pumps?
Since upgrading the network to our app-based charging system, we’ve noticed that our customers occasionally have issues with the app because their mobile network providers are having signal issues.
As every phone network is different, and has different signal quality at different times, we couldn’t pinpoint individual locations where these problems were occurring more often than others - so we decided to install Wi-Fi hotspots at every pump on the Electric Highway network to ensure that if customers are unable to charge due to signal problems, there’s an easy solution.
How do I use the Wi-Fi hotspots?
It’s easy to connect to the Wi-Fi at a pump.
1) Stand next to the pump that you wish to use – the range of the Wi-Fi is pretty limited, so you might not be able to pick it up if you’re sitting in your car.
2) Select the Electric Highway Wi-Fi from the list of available networks (you’ll find this somewhere in your phone settings). This will be listed as EHWifi_SiteName – for example, EHWifi_Membury_E.
3) When asked for a password, enter ecotricity. This is case sensitive, so don’t use capital letters.
4) Once your phone has connected to the Wi-Fi, open the Electric Highway app.
5) Charge your car as you normally would. Once the charge sessions has begun, you don’t need to stand next to the pump for the full 45 minutes, so you’ve got time to go and grab a cup of tea!
What if I can’t log in to the Wi-Fi for the pump I want to charge up at?
If you have any problems logging onto the Wi-Fi and there’s another pump on site, you can log on to the other pump’s Wi-Fi instead using the same process. Once you’ve successfully logged into the Wi-Fi and are using the app, remember to input the four digit pump ID for the charge point that you want to use, rather than the one you’re using the Wi-Fi from.
Do I have to stand next to the pump for the whole of my 45 minute charge session?
No – once you’ve successfully started your charge you don’t need to wait by the pump.
Why can customers not always log in to the app using their phone signal?
Occasionally, customers experience problems with their phone signal and are unable to login to the app and charge their car. These problems are with their phone network, so we can’t do anything to fix this. That’s why we’ve installed Wi-Fi hotspots at our pumps – so if a customer is having signal issues, there’s now a simple solution.
What can I use the Wi-Fi hotspot for?
You’ll only be able to use the Wi-Fi available at Electric Highway pumps to run the Electric Highway app and visit the Ecotricity website. You won’t be able to visit other websites or download content.
Why have you not created one SSID across the network?
The Wi-Fi hotspots have been designed as a secondary solution to start a charge when mobile network signal is poor. It has not been designed to act as the default connection method, therefore it was not created as a single network, but instead individual hotspots.