IONITY rapid-charging network introduces metered pricing

Manufacturer-backed rapid-charging network introduces new pricing structure as expansion continues

The Europe-wide IONITY rapid-charging network has announced a new kilowatt-hour-based metered pricing structure for its 350kW electric-car charging points.

Starting on 31 January, customers without contracts will be charged an ad-hoc rate of £0.69 per kWh, or €0.79 per kWh for locations on the Continent. Those who access the network through manufacturer contracts from the likes of Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Porsche will get a cheaper rate.

The ad-hoc fee translates to a 0-100% charge cost of approximately £27 for a 40kWh Nissan Leaf, or around £41 for a Tesla Model 3 Long Range, although rapid chargers like these are more commonly used for topping up in smaller increments, with full charges completed on home wallboxes overnight.

Commenting on the new pricing, IONITY CEO Michael Hajesch 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.”

Previously, IONITY had charged a flat fee of £8 for all charging sessions, regardless of how much electricity drivers consumed.

IONITY chargers in the UK

The IONITY network opened its second and third UK stations at Gretna Green and Milton Keynes Coachway. These followed the arrival of IONITY’s first facility on J8 of the M20 in Maidstone, Kent, in May 2019. By mid-2019, IONITY had secured deals for 30 sites across the country and the company plans to have a 40-strong network of rapid-charging stations in operation here by the end of 2020.

Eight of those will be at service areas run by Extra MSA Group. They include Leeds Skelton Lake (M1, J45), Cobham (M25), Cambridge (A14/M11, J28), Beaconsfield (M40, J2), Cullompton (M5, J28), Blackburn with Darwen (M65, J4), Baldock (A1M, J10) and Peterborough (A1M, J17). The Leeds site, the fourth UK location, is currently scheduled to go live in March 2020.

Energy technology company Octopus Energy – backed by Octopus Investments, which claims to be the UK's largest investor in solar power – provides the electricity for every IONITY charging station in the UK. The firm promises "100% renewable energy", giving drivers "peace of mind" regarding their impact on the environment.

IONITY has indicated that it'll meet demands to allow contactless card payments at rapid charging stations. During 2019, the government said it was “prepared to intervene” to ensure greater convenience for electric-vehicle drivers. Previously, drivers wishing to use IONITY’s chargers had to have an RFID card, or pay directly on a smartphone using the firm’s app or website.

Ionity chargers charging

What is IONITY and the Shell-IONITY fast-charging network?

IONITY was created following Shell’s acquisition of charging company NewMotion – one of the largest charging providers in Europe – and builds on the portfolio of the Shell Recharge fast chargers already located around the UK.

It’s the second example of a major oil company investing in electric vehicle charging, after BP’s takeover of Chargemaster in 2017. IONITY is a joint venture involving Daimler (parent company of Mercedes), BMW, Ford and VW Group brands Audi and Porsche. Hyundai and Kia became shareholders in September 2019.

At the same time as bringing Hyundai and Kia on board, IONITY also debuted a new design of charging station for its network, dubbed the 'High-Power Charger'. The unit promises an improved user experience, incorporating an LED light ring to act as a 'beacon' at night, making it easier for drivers to find stations. The ring indicates the chargers' availability by its colour, as well as providing a well-lit area for drivers charging their cars during darkness.

Each station features up to six charging points, although most of IONITY’s sites have contracts for 10 years, which could see them expand as demand rises. All sites receive 24-hour support – both remote and on-site – with a network of 2,400 points across Europe planned for 2020. The number of live stations had reached 200 in 20 countries by January 2020.