Live in Milton Keynes and own an EV? Get ready to be charged - for free!

That’s right, Ecotricity, the UK’s provider of electric car chargers at motorway service stations has announced a £5 charging fee for your electric car.

The green energy company has revealed its plans to charge £5 fee for a 20 minute charge at its 300 fast charging stations across the nation from Monday 11 July.

To help us do the math, Motoring Research used the example of a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV long-term test car. It takes 20 minutes to charge the battery by around 50% which electrically speaking, gives the car 15 miles of driving. Comparing this to petrol, it would cost around £2 for the same distance.

Announcing the news by sending an email to its users today, Ecotricity describe the start of their charging facilities as: "a bit of a chicken and egg situation - people were reluctant to buy electric cars because there were no charging facilities being built, but nobody wanted to build those facilities while there were still so few cars on the road. That’s when we jumped in to help kickstart the electric car revolution in Britain.”

Fast forward five years and their revolution is certainly growing. There are currently over 40 models on the market and 64,000 plug-ins on the road.

New plug-in cars are being introduced by many car manufacturers on a regular basis. Just this week, Hyundai launched the new Ioniq and plan to bring out a plug-in hybrid version next year.

So, just when the supply and demand for electric cars is rising, the company behind the UK’s ‘electric highway’ have put a damper on long commuters who are used to the free charges. What will this mean for demand in the future for electric cars?

Electric car owners will still be able to freely charge at home and at public (non-Electricty) chargers and Tesla drivers will still be able to use the Electric Vehicle giant’s network for free.

As a result of more cars on the road, the green company has contributed to the delivery of two million miles of clean driving each month – and that’s all powered from the wind and sun.

Ecotricity added: “So the time has come for us to charge – for charging. We’ve taken a lot of feedback from EV drivers in order to arrive at the right pricing model. We’ve decided that a simple flat fee of a fiver for a 20 minute fast charge strikes the right balance.”

The new paying system is being installed across the network from Monday 11 July and is expected to be completed by Friday 5 August.

If you’re an electric vehicle driver, does this news prevent you from making longer journeys? Or, if you were thinking of purchasing an electric vehicle, has this news changed your mind?

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Milton Keynes residents who are fortunate enough to own an Electric vehicle (EV) will benefit from free smart chargers provided by the Electric Nation project.

One such person is Keith McLean - one of the first Electric Nation participants in Milton Keynes to have a smart charger installed for his BMW i3. The former Milton Keynes mayor, says “I’m delighted to be able to help with the Electric Nation research project, which aims to ensure that the UK’s local electricity networks can continue to charge the ever-growing numbers of electric vehicles. This 7kW smart charger is one of the latest, most intelligent on the market and can provide useful data on your charging history – as well as being able to charge an EV up to twice as fast as a 3kW home charge point. It has the most up to date functionality, with software updates being carried out remotely.”

While in office Keith put several electric vehicles through their paces, and was impressed with how easily they could be used in a city that at the time had over 200 public charging points.

And in his new role working for Iain Stewart, MP for Milton Keynes South, all of Keiths journeys will be within the local Borough, underlining his decision to purchase an electric BMW i3, and join the Electric Nation project.

A BMW spokesman said: “Since its launch in 2013 the BMW i3 has been at the vanguard of electromobility. Since that time we have sold more than 100,000 electric vehicles globally, a figure we will achieve again this year alone, such is the uptake. We are therefore delighted to support the Electric Nation trial with a view to wider use of low and zero emission vehicles in the future and the development of a smarter charging infrastructure.”

Electric Nation is a Western Power Distribution (WPD) and Network Innovation Allowance funded project. WPD’s collaboration partners in the project are EA Technology, DriveElectric, Lucy Electric GridKey and TRL. Taking place in the WPD network areas in the Midlands, South West and South Wales which also includes Milton Keynes. The scheme has been awarded £9m of Go Ultra Low funding to highlight the benefits of electric vehice ownership as well as encourage the increased uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles.

The project is seeking to recruit 500-700 people buying or leasing new electric vehicles (of all makes and models, pure electric and plug-in hybrids) to take part in the largest trial of its kind. Trial participants will get a free* (subject to conditions) smart charger installed.

Looking for an electric vehicle? Read the essential Lookers guide here.

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