Analysis
21 Jan 20

IONITY network dramatically increases EV fast charging costs

The superfast electric car charging network IONITY will dramatically increase the tariffs for using its network from 31 January.

IONITY is a joint venture between BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche. Its objective is to build an extensive 350kW High Power Charging network for electric vehicles to facilitate long-distance travel in Europe. It currently has 200 charging stations and plans to double this to 400 locations in 24 countries this year.

Until the end of January, drivers can charge their cars at IONITY fast chargers for a flat fee of €8 per charging session (£8 in the UK, CHF8 in Switzerland, NOK80 in Norway).

New charging structure

However, as of 31 January, customers will pay per kilowatt hour (kWh) at a tariff of €0.79/kWh for Euro zone countries (£0.69/kWh in the UK, CHF0.79/kWh in Switzerland, NOK8.40 in Norway). No contract is required to access these services, but the price rise is considerable.

To fully charge a 35.8kW Volkswagen eGolf will cost up to €28.28 and a 50kW Tesla will cost €39.50 to recharge. In reality the charges are likely to be a little lower because drivers will not be recharging batteries from 0% to 100% charge, but these drive-up fees for direct customers may exceed the pence per mile fuel costs of petrol and diesel. For fleets that base their decisions on total cost of ownership calculations, rising power costs at public charge points underlines the need for company car drivers to be able to recharge their cars at home. It also suggests that service and maintenance is the only area where EVs will have a long-term cost advantage over cars with combustion engines.

Criticism

The price rise has drawn stinging criticism on social media, with commentators citing it as evidence that the German OEMs don't want EVs to succeed.

Christina Bu, General Secretary of the Norwegian Electric Car Association, which represents the most developed and successful EV market in Europe, said: “It may seem that the German car industry does not understand the bearing of the Norwegian electric car market."

She described the price hike as ‘roadside robbery’ for electric car drivers. Bu also questioned why Norwegian motorists would be paying more for their electricity than other countries.

However, a spokesman for IONITY said the increase in tariffs was an indication of where the fast charging market is heading, and said the flat rate €8 charge made no commercial sense.

"There are lots of choices out there, and people are not forced to use IONITY, although it does have the advantage of being very quick," he said.

Discounts for Connected Mobility Service Providers networks

Discounts on the new fees Europe will be available to members of Connected Mobility Service Providers networks, such as Audi e-tron Charging Service, Mercedes me Charge, BMW ChargeNow, Porsche Charging Service and Volkswagen WeCharge.

Mercedes me Charge, for example, has already announced that it will charge €0.29/kWh at IONITY chargers, with no annual subscription fee for the first year. Audi e-tron Charging Service will cost €0.31/kWh plus a monthly subscription of €17.95, while Porsche Charging Service will cost €0.33/kWh plus a basic annual fee of €179. BMW ChargeNow and Volkswagen WeCharge have not yet announced their tariffs.

As a comparison, Tesla charges an average of €0.24/kWh in France, €0.33/kWh in Germany, €0.28/kWh in Belgium, €0.25/kWh in the Netherlands and €0.30 in Italy.

Michael Hajesch, CEO of IONITY, said: “Our new pricing scheme offers a viable and transparent pricing structure in Europe. Depending on their individual needs, our customers have the freedom to choose the most appropriate scheme available.”

Authored by: Jonathan Manning
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