Ionity announces high pricing for ad hoc charging

  • High price for charging if you’re not a member of charging scheme
  • Ionity is a joint venture between the Daimler, BMW, Ford and VW manufacturing groups
  • Full charge on a Nissan Leaf would cost more than £42

Ionity, the car manufacturer-backed electric car charging network, has announced it is to replace its flat charging fee with a new price-per-kWh structure that will see prices increase dramatically for all but the smallest of charges.

Under the old structure, charging at an Ionity station cost a flat fee of £8, regardless of how long or how much energy the charge consumed. But at the end of the January, the 200-strong European-wide network of Ionity charging points will switch to a rate of 0.79 Euros (69p) per kWh instead.

This fee applies to ad-hoc access – that is, motorists who aren’t customers of a manufacturer charging scheme, such as Audi e-Tron Charging Service, Mercedes.Me.Charge, BMW ChargeNow, Porsche Charging Service or Volkswagen WeCharge.

Having a higher price for non-members isn’t unique in the world of charging networks. Customers on BP Chargemaster’s Polar network, for example, charge for free at many points and pay half the rate per kWh than non-members, up to 40p per kWh at fast-charging stations.

Expensive compared with rivals

Ecotricity charges 39p per kWh to most users and 19p per kWh to those who also have their home energy supplied by the company, while Tesla offers completely free charging on its Supercharger network to owners of its higher-priced vehicles, and 27p per kWh to the rest.

But these prices are all significantly lower than Ionity’s rate, which would see the price of a full charge for popular vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen e-Golf or Tesla Model 3 cost as much as £42.78, £22.08 and £51.75 respectively. That could push the cost per mile past that of even a comparatively thirsty petrol or diesel car.

Ionity electric charging point

However, these are worst-case scenarios, as it’s very uncommon to charge a battery from 0% to 100% in one go.

Ionity defended the pricing – saying that 80% of its current clientele choose to charge with Mobility Service Providers (MSPs) such as the aforementioned manufacturer schemes.

'The ad-hoc pricing is certainly at the upper end of the price scale,' says Paul Entwistle, head of public relations at Ionity. 'However, it can be viewed as a last resort as the majority of our customers have chosen to charge with MSPs.'

What this means for you

Essentially, Ionity has priced itself out of the running for non-members. Charging while out-and-about has always been more expensive than juicing up at home, given the UK’s average home electricity price of 11p to 16p per kWh. But with a price of more than double some of the country’s most popular providers, there’s really no cause to use an Ionity charger unless you’re part of an existing scheme or you truly have no other alternative.

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