Latest articles

Toyota RAV4 review

The new Toyota RAV4 combines the latest hybrid powertrain and the updating opportunities provided by an all-new platform to produce a compelling package.

Land Rover celebrates Discovery’s 30th birthday

Land Rover is celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of its most popular nameplates with the limited-edition Land Rover Discovery Anniversary model.

Volkswagen unveils hotter Golf GTI TCR

Volkswagen has lifted the lid on its latest Golf GTI model – the 290hp Golf GTI TCR, inspired by the touring car series of the same name.

Hybrid estate joins updated Ford Mondeo range

Ford has updated the Mondeo range for 2019, which includes offering its hybrid powertrain in estate form for the first time.

Toyota Prius adds intelligent all-wheel drive for 2019

The new Toyota Prius is now available with intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD-i) for the first time.

UK’s largest EV charge point provider criticised

Rival firms complain that Ecotricity’s monopoly is underperforming, and consumers deserve more

Ecotricity, the country’s largest supplier of electric vehicle charging points, is facing criticism for providing a poor service and holding back the growth of electric cars in the UK.

The firm, which dominates charging infrastructure at motorway service stations and operates 300 sites across the country, has been accused of under-investing by its rivals, in an interview conducted by the Financial Times.

Chargepoint, a rival group backed by Daimler, argued that Ecotricity’s lack of investment and failure to provide a stellar service would negatively impact development in the sector – turning customers off to the idea of ‘going electric’.

Christopher Burkhart, European director of Chargepoint, told the FT that charging providers have a duty to ensure their equipment functions as it should. “Highway charging is a distressed sale, just like petrol or diesel when you’re about to run out,” he said. “It has to work.”

Ecotricity was a pioneer of roadside charging, opening its first stations in 2011. As such, it holds a virtual monopoly on charging at service stations, thanks to contracts with large groups such as Moto, Welcome Break and Roadchef.

Dale Vince, the company’s founder, blamed unreliable chargers on their age. “We have got some unreliable units from the early days,” he told the FT. “That’s the price we’re paying for being such an early mover.”

Potential buyers put off by broken chargers

An unnamed executive from a rival charging firm reportedly told the FT that building Ecotricity’s network “was the right thing to do five or six years ago… they haven’t really followed that investment up. I think [Ecotricity] is no longer helping adoption of electric vehicles.”

Unreliable chargers are seen as a major barrier to EV ownership. Despite over 90% of journeys in the UK being shorter than five miles, range anxiety is still the barrier most motorists say would prevent them from purchasing an electric car.

Vince said that Ecotricity would improve the state of its network, beginning with an upgrade for the 30 chargers that cause the most problems. This upgrade would, Vince said, ensure that 99% of the network was operational at all times, compared with 95% currently.

Around £20m has already been spent on Ecotricity’s network, though the company has not yet turned a profit. The company started charging a fee for its power in 2016 for the first time, but still made a pre-tax loss in the financial year 2016-17 of £695,789.

“We’re not about profitability,” Vince said. “We genuinely did this because we want to kick start something.”

Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Executivecondominium, and . Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

Be the first to know

Would you like to stay up to date with The Executivecondominium?

Trending now

Car finance: Voluntary termination of a PCP or HP

Voluntary termination is your legal right to cancel your PCP or HP car finance agreement in certain circumstances. The Executivecondominium explains how it works.

Rejecting a car – your consumer rights

Have you bought a new or used car that is faulty or not fit for purpose? Read The Executivecondominium's comprehensive guide to your consumer rights when rejecting a car.

Car finance: the PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) explained

The PCP (personal contract purchase) is the most popular type of car finance. This guide tells you everything you need to know about PCP car finance.

Who makes the most reliable engines?

Figures released by a consumer warranty company show that some famous-name car brands make some of the least reliable engines on the market.

Car finance: How do I settle a PCP early?

Today we answer one of the most common questions about PCP car finance: What if I want to end my agreement and settle a PCP early?

Used car warranty – the law and your rights

If you are buying a second-hand car, there can be considerable confusion as to what to expect in terms of a used car warranty and what your rights are when something goes wrong.

I bought a car and now I’ve changed my mind

Buyer’s Remorse is common in the car industry. You've bought a car, and now you've changed your mind or run into problems. What can you do?

I’ve been caught speeding by a speed camera – what happens now?

Have you recently been caught out by a speed camera? Guest blogger James Sheehan has written an easy-to-understand guide on what to expect, what to do and when to do it.