Many manufacturers also offer simplified charging by giving access to numerous providers under their own charging scheme. For instance, Audi’s E-tron Charging Service account gives access to nearly 20 different energy firms, while all new E-trons come with a voucher that’ll cover the first 1000 miles worth of charges for free.
Tesla owners get their own dedicated rapid-charging Supercharger network, plus a number of Destination fast chargers at locations such as hotels. Owners of a Tesla Model S or Model X registered before 2017 are eligible for free charging, while owners of later cars will currently be charged at a rate of 28p per kWh, although that varies from site to site so you’ll need to check your Tesla App for the costs at a specific location. Bear in mind, however, that Tesla charges ‘idle fees’ if you remain parked-up once your car is charged. If the Supercharger station is over 50 percent full then you’ll be charged 50p for every minute you’re parked in a fully charged car, which rises to £1 if the station is completely full.
Tesla has recently announced that it will soon make its Superchargers available to owners of other brands of EV. It’s likely that you’ll be charged more than Tesla drivers to use them, with drivers of the slowest charging vehicles forking out the most as a way to dissuade them from spending too long plugged in.
How much does it cost for motorway charging?
You’ll pay a little more to charge at a motorway service station, largely because most of the chargers there are fast or rapid units. Until recently, Ecotricity was the only provider at these locations, with around 300 chargers available, but it has now been joined by companies such as Ionity. In the case of Ecotricity, it has recently sold its Electric Highway network of chargers to Gridserve, which has promised greater investment and more 350kW rapid chargers, including the 12 units just installed at Rugby Services in Warwickshire.
Over the rest of the Electric Highway network here’s the existing choice of both AC and DC charging options, all with a 45-minute maximum use time. There are only a handful of the AC fast chargers left, but they are still free to use with an Ecotricity RFID card. The rapid DC chargers offer 120kW, 180 kW or 350kw charging and can be all be used on a pay-as-you-go basis for 66p per kWh at both its motorway services locations, which driops to 64kWh at its Gridserve Forecourts, which are essentially standalone hubs of main trunk roads and provide amenities such as cafes and newsagents. The firm also recently slashed its pre-authorisation requirement from £20 to £1.