Public EV charging provider Shell Recharge has become the latest operator to hike prices in the face of rising electricity costs.
From Thursday 20 October, the network is increasing prices on its fast, rapid and ultra-rapid units by between 10p and 20p per kWh. Charging at its fast chargers - up to 22kW - has jumped from 45p/kWh to 55p/kWh while prices for 50kW rapid chargers have risen from 59p/kWh to 79p/kWh. Ultra-rapid chargers (150kW and above) have jumped from 65p/kWh to 85p/kWh.
A 10%-80% charge of a 64.8kWh EV like a Kia Niro will now cost £38.56 at a Shell Recharge station, compared with £29.48 before the increase.
All public charging operators have increased their prices this year as they face soaring energy costs but Shell’s move makes it the second most expensive public operator in the country. Only Osprey charges more, having boosted its prices by 50% to £1 per kWh in September.
At the time, Osprey’s CEO Ian Johnston blamed the soaring cost of energy and uncertainty around government relief schemes. He said that once there was more clarity on the Energy Bill Relief Scheme Osprey would reassess its pricing. However, since the first details were announced in late September the charge point operator has made no move to reduce its prices.
Political events affecting prices
Shell Recharge, which operates pay-as-you-go units, said that the global energy crisis had left it no choice but to increase costs for drivers. Informing customers of the changes it said: “Unfortunately, political events are strongly impacting energy prices. This has led to a global energy crisis, the effects of which are trickling down and now impacting EV charging rates.
“Electricity is a finite resource and thus causing prices to rise sharply throughout Europe. Shell Recharge is closely in contact with all of the roaming partners in our network, many of which have informed us that, if they haven’t already, are increasing their prices.
“Shell Recharge can not absorb the increase in energy costs applied by many partners and must also reflect any increases to our charging tariffs. Therefore, you will see increases in charging tariffs for both Shell Recharge and the wider roaming network.”
The price of public charging has jumped by more than 40% since May due to the energy crisis. Shell’s rival ultra-rapid charging networks have also increased prices by up to 21p this year, with Instavolt now charging 66p per kWh, Ionity charging 69p and Gridserve 66p. The shift has closed the running cost gap between petrol and electric cars and in some cases resulted in public charging costing more than filling up a fossil fuel car.
The soaring prices at public chargers have led to repeated calls for the government to cut VAT on energy at public stations. While EV owners who charge at home pay 5% VAT on their electricity, it is set at 20% for public charge points. In September the bosses of 20 public charging networks wrote to the then-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng asking him to bring VAT on public charging in line with domestic rates. They warned that without such action the development of the UK’s charging infrastructure could be threatened and drivers could be put off moving to EVs.