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Osprey sets eye-watering £1 per kWh price
Latest news from the world of EVs
Hello and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a weekly British EV newsletter.
As most companies and the news agenda have very much been focused on the Queen this past week, today’s edition is pretty short.
As ever, if you have any thoughts or feedback, please do drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply reply to this email.
In the last week…
HUGE INCREASE: The biggest news of last week was that Osprey, one of the larger rapid charging networks in the UK, increased its prices from 66p to £1 per kWh – an increase of 51%. This makes Osprey the most expensive network in the UK. In real terms, the change means if you were to use 40kWh it would now cost you £48, including VAT at 20%. Before last week at Osprey, it would have cost about £31.68 – a difference of £16.32. At these new prices, it would arguably be far cheaper to use petrol or diesel. According to Osprey, the decision affects all their rapid devices of which Zap-Map suggests there are over 300. Osprey announced the decision accompanied by a video from their CEO, Ian Johnston, who explained they were increasing costs due to the sky-high wholesale costs and no government support to date – as specifics on business support related to the energy cap have not been forthcoming.
The company has said they will reduce the cost when they are able to, though they will surely lose huge amounts of business because of this. £1 per kWh puts them about £0.30p clear of the next nearest network. In response, many users have strongly criticised Osprey, with one person even sending a video of themselves deleting the app.
Before people slam Osprey, they have done a lot of good in my view for the EV sector. They’ve really taken a lead with reliability and more recently, accessibility, through their partnership with ChargeSafe. So, I hope once the government’s business support arrives - Rees-Mogg is expected to deliver a speech this week - they can drop the prices. Although, this news does make me expect similar rises will come from the other rapid networks before too long.
ENERGY CAP: Speaking of energy, since Truss’ support package was revealed, there has been a huge barrage of stories about how the current crisis is proof that EVs don’t work – as they are more expensive to run than internal combustion engines. Obviously, Osprey’s news notwithstanding, there is still a huge market, and variable pricing available to people. Ben Nelmes, CEO at New AutoMotive, has written a very thorough blog on this. He also makes a great wider point, saying “If consumers worry that EVs are not a good financial bet, they will simply stop buying them. As well as deliver on policy, Ministers must clearly signal to consumers that EVs will remain cheaper per mile.” Hopefully, we’ll see renewed action from the new Transport Secretary soon. Read more.
ENERGY BILL: The new Business Secretary, Jacob Rees-Mogg, quietly last week put the government’s “energy security bill” on hold. The bill included reforms such as renationalising responsibilities for balancing Britain’s electricity and gas systems, presently done by the National Grid, and looking at new financing models to encourage technologies, such as carbon capture and storage and the production of green hydrogen, as well as the streamlining of some approval processes for offshore wind farms. Doesn’t exactly seem like they are taking a long-term view on these energy problems. Read full story in FT.
NEW PARTNER: Paua, the EV charging card for fleet operators and users, has partnered with Co Charger, the peer-to-peer network, to provide business drivers with access to both home and public charging. This solution should help those 40-50% of fleet drivers without the ability to charge at home. Read more.
LITHIUM WARNING: The Advanced Propulsion Centre, a government-backed research organisation, has warned in its latest update that lithium shortages should be expected this decade. And, as such, manufacturers should prepare to mitigate this. One solution they’ve put forward is for companies to “diversify powertrain choice in the short to medium term” by building hydrogen vehicles. The APC does not expect smaller cars to become hydrogen but believes large and luxury vehicles could switch to this powertrain, as it may be more cost-effective to manufacture. Read more. This news comes as lithium prices have risen above 500,000 yuan a ton.
ELECTRIC BUS: While watching the Queen’s procession travel out of London to Windsor yesterday, my brother and I noticed that two coaches (but it could have been more) carrying foreign dignitaries from Westminster Abbey out of London were electric – they had green plates. They appeared to be ‘TCe12 Electric’ coaches (pictured). It has 200 miles of range, a whopping 281kWh battery and is the first zero emission coach available in the UK. It’s made by Yutong, a company based in China.
VATs UP? By next week, the Chancellor will have delivered his expected ‘fiscal statement’ (due this Friday). In this, we will see an array of tax cuts, including potentially to VAT – perhaps the eradication of the disparity between public (20%) and private (5%) EV charging. Plenty of businesses and campaigners have certainly been calling for it. However, don’t hold your breath. Despite it seeming like a straightforward proposition, there will be an endless list of impacts and cases to be reviewed for even the simplest VAT change. Though fear not, as it’s very likely we’ll have a full Budget event in November this year as well. Whatever comes about, I will be summarising here next week.
NEW DATE: World EV Day, which was cancelled due to the Queen’s passing, has been reorganised for 29 September this year – so next Thursday. Be sure to plonk it in your diary if not already. Read more.
UPCOMING DIVE: As I mentioned last week, I’m keen to speak to anyone involved in the commercial van sector for an upcoming deep dive. It’s been great to speak with a couple of people already, but please do drop me a line if you’re involved in turning our nation’s white vans green.
NO EDITION: There will be no newsletter on Tuesday 4 October, as I will be in Birmingham at the Conservative Party conference. Though, they’ll be a bumper edition the week after. If you’re also attending the conference, do drop me a line and maybe we can get some warm wine.
By Tom Riley