General FAQs

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 network of electricity pumps, 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?

Our electricity pumps cover all types of connector for electric vehicles – have a look at our guides to charging your vehicle for more info.

How much does it cost to use the Electric Highway?

After five years of providing charging for free, we’ve now moved to a ‘charging for charging’ model.

Each fast charge costs £6 for a 30 minute charging session.

You’ll need our Electric Highway app to be able to charge your car.

The Electric Highway will continue to be free for Ecotricity energy customers, subject to our fair usage policy ( see below).

Why is it £6 for 30mins charging?

The cost of using the Electric Highway is based on market research, usage data, and feedback from our customers. 

We originally set the price at £5 for 20 minutes. 

Research shows that 20 minutes is the average length of stay at motorway services, and we wanted to offer customers fair use and also fair access to our pumps. 

We looked at the entire market – including the price that other electric car networks charge, and the equivalent costs of refuelling petrol and diesel cars on the motorway – and came to the conclusion that £5 per charge was a fair price to pay.

We then had a number of conversations with Electric Highway members – who gave us feedback about the proposed 20 minute charge session in particular. As a result of that feedback, we changed our approach – to £6 for 30 minute sessions.  

A 30 minute session should ensure the vast majority of EV drivers can achieve the ideal 80% recharge in one session. 

For example, a 30 minute session will recharge both the 24kWh and 30kWh LEAF batteries up to around 80% from empty. On a 24kWh LEAF, this is equivalent to 6p a mile or around 84mpg, and 4.8p per mile or around 105mpg on 30kWh versions.*

In terms of value for money, this change results in 50% more charging time for just a 20% increase in cost – overall, a 25% reduction in cost.

We know there are lots of EV drivers with different needs – there are around 40 different models of electric vehicles on the road and three charging standards – but we hope this new model strikes the right balance for everyone. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how this transition pans out and we’ll keep listening to feedback.

How do I use the Electric Highway for free?

If you’re an Ecotricity customer, you’ll be entitled to free charging on the Electric Highway.

There are three easy steps. 

Step 1: Switch your electricity and gas (or just electricity if you don't have gas supply) to Ecotricity

You can do that online here

Our electricity customers also receive an annual £40 discount just for having an electric vehicle – this is called our Electric Vehicle discount. You can find out more about that here.

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. 

Step 3

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 receive free charging 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.

What is your fair usage policy?

The Electric Highway is free to use for Ecotricity energy customers.

There are some Electric Highway members who use the network an extremely high number of times, so we do have a fair usage policy – 52 charges each year (the equivalent of over £300 of free juice). That’s just so that we can ensure fair and equal use of the network.

Not many people use more than 52 charges a year, so it’s very unlikely that this restriction would limit your free use of the network. 

All of our Medium AC (slow) chargers will remain free with a swipe card – however, we don’t have many of these and they charge much slower.

Why do you ask for credit card details if the network is free to use?

You won’t be charged for using the Electric Highway while you’re an Ecotricity energy customer, subject to our fair usage policy. We do ask customers to register a credit or debit card when they set up their account – that’s just in case you switch to another energy supplier and so no longer benefit from free use of the network, we’ll already have a payment method set up for you. If you exceed our fair usage policy, you'll also have a payment method ready.

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.

Why has Ecotricity chosen to charge per 30min session rather than per kWh?

Firstly, to reduce congestion and provide fair access to all our electricity pumps. 

The most frequent complaint we received about our pumps is that some users were unfairly monopolising them. Battery charging slows down as the battery fills up, so some people tend to wait a long time to charge that last bit of battery. Without a time limit, we often had a situation where customers were waiting long periods to access a pump.

Secondly, while different models charge up at different rates, 30 minutes should ensure most drivers get to the ideal 80% charge. 

For example, a 30 minute session will recharge both the 24kWh and 30kWh LEAF batteries up to around 80% from empty. On a 24kWh LEAF, this is equivalent to 6p a mile or around 84mpg, and 4.8p per mile or around 105mpg on 30kWh versions.*

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.

How do I use the electricity pumps?

We have now introduced an Electric Highway app to charge your car at our pumps. You can download that here.

Check out our guides to charging 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 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?

With charging for charging, each charge session will last 30 minutes. You’ll be able to charge your car for two or three sessions in a row, but payment will be made before each session starts.

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.

 

Based on New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). Range figures are obtained from laboratory testing and intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reflect real driving results. Actual range may vary due to driving style, road condition, air conditioning and other factors outside of our control. Fuel prices are based on the latest AA price for Unleaded Petrol of 111.6p/litre, or 507.78p/gallon. Prices quoted as of 14/07/16. ( http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/fuel/)



Get the Electric Highway App

The must-have app for electric car drivers. Gives you access to Britain’s only national network of electricity pumps – the Electric Highway.

 

Get In Touch

To get in touch, just drop us an email to fortheroad@ecotricity.co.uk, or give us a call on 01453 761455 between 8:30am to 8:00pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm Saturday.

For information on charging, check out our Charge Your Vehicle page.

Need more help? See our FAQs.