To be fair to Ecotricity, they have done a great job of building the network and are the only national network of rapid chargers available on the UK motorway network. So why have I, today, signed up with Good Energy switching away from Ecotricity if they have done so much to help the UK EV driver? Like all of these things it is a balance and it is not clear-cut. I have sensed a change of emphasis and direction from Ecotricity over the past 3 years. They started out with altruistic intentions and seemed to want to do what was right and best for the EV driver but over the past 2-3 years this has changed considerably IMO.
To be fair to Ecotricity, they have done a great job of building the network
What they are doing is cutting-edge. They are using first generation charging technology, with (for the most part) first generation cars, with (for the most part) first generation EV drivers. It is not surprising there are issues. But you would expect that a company that seemed so driver-focued in the early days would take on board the needs, views and opinions of those drivers and feed that back into their offering. The Ecotricity of today seems not to do that… if they ever did. Instead, they seem to have a way, a direction, a plan, which is not so driver-focused. In fact, in my opinion, the driver now seems to be almost forgotten about in the way they run the Highway. This is typified by the reduction of support to office hours only, Monday to Friday. Weekend and evenings are the time when most EV drivers are likely to be out with their families and yet, just when the driver needs most help, the Highway Support line is closed.
What they are doing is cutting-edge…
Ecotricity say that the vast majority of times people call their support line they cannot help over the phone so in their eyes withdrawing support will make little real difference and that the money is therefore better spent where it can make more difference. From their perspective I am sure that they can justify it financially but from the perspective of a EV driver, stuck at a charger that won’t work, perhaps with his family, perhaps late at night in bad weather with no one else to help it IT SUCKS! A clear case of Ecotricity forgetting the needs of EV driver IMO.
… withdrawing support will make little real difference…
Then there is the issue of their financial donation to the Labour party during the run up to the election. Ecotricity are more expensive than the Big 6 but I have always been prepared to pay the extra as I felt that my money was going towards building a better Electric Highway and new wind farms. Instead, I find that £250,000 of Ecotricity customer money has gone towards supporting the Labour election campaign. If I wanted to donate to Labour I would do it myself and as I don’t I am not at all happy giving money to a company to then support Labour. That is disingenuous and not at all respectful of their customers. So basically, I am talking with my feet as a customer and I urge everyone to do the same, not just with Ecotricity but with everyone you buy from. If you are not happy with the companies you buy from then do as I do – stop buying from them and say why. Edit: I have been asked why then don’t I also boycott the Electric Highway and cut up my Highway RFID card? It is a good question but the rationale behind it is misguided. Using the Highway is free to all. I have not seen anywhere that you have to publicly support Ecotricity to use the Highway. Now, if and when they start to charge a fee to use the Highway then I will have to think hard before I give them any money. I am not sure I would at the moment in the same way that I won’t pay Chargemaster/POLAR either… but I still use their free chargers as I am not giving them any money so I have no conflict.
£250,000 of Ecotricity customer money has gone towards supporting the Labour election campaign