Electric car drivers face queues for charge points


The UK's electric car charging network is close to capacity, with some EV owners struggling to charge their cars.

Drivers looking to fill their car batteries in specially designated bays are finding motorists with internal combustion engine vehicles taking up spaces, as well as other electric car owners hogging space once they're fully charged.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: "We do get charge rage if someone ICEs your bay. And people don't like it if someone parks a Tesla to charge for two hours. When your car has finished charging, our message is: move it."

Charge rage is a term coined in the US, where quarrels over misuse of electric charging points have already become an issue.

Tesla owners have access to their own network of fast-charge stations, so owners of EVs from other manufacturers get annoyed when they use universal charge points.

Vince says that Ecotricity's network is just about coping but has admitted that some pinch points are becoming congested.

There are currently more than 70,000 pure electric cars on the road, with countless more plug-in hybrid models that may require a battery pack top-up. The growing number of electrically-powered cars is quickly eclipsing the 10,000 public charging locations on the road network.

Slowing the expansion of the network is the cost of installing chargers. A single, basic charge point costs about £1,400, while a dual fast charging unit costs around £3,500. Rapid charge points, the holy grail for EV owners, cost about £22,000 to install.

To recoup this cost and pay for the electricity used, network operators now charge for electricity. Ecotricity currently charges £6 for 30 minutes of charge time.