thumbnail_EV Point Totem Pole Markham Vale 21032024

Asda Express site at Markham Vale, Chesterfield, among the 50 sites to have Evpoint’s EV charging price poles

EG Group is to roll out forecourt poles with per unit charging prices via its ultra-fast EV charging Evpoint business.

It has already introduced the concept at around 50 forecourts, including some sites, such as Markham Vale Services at Chesterfield, which the EG Group divested to Asda last year.

EG Group says that it was the first chargepoint operator to introduce this method of marked pricing to the UK in 2021. The idea has been slow to take off with other chargepoint operators, but EG Group believes it should be widely adopted to make it as easy for motorists to compare the costs of charging their car as it is with petrol.

“EV signage including pricing will allow drivers to make an informed decision about whether they are prepared to turn in and use the facilities,” said EG Group. “Like traditional carbon fuels, reflecting pricing for EVs is a critical consideration and we believe this should apply equally across the mobility space,” it added.

Many believe that as forecourt operators are coming under increased pressure to be transparent with the prices they charge for traditional fuel, it will be a matter of time before those offering EV charging have to follow suit. Rival operator MFG told Forecourt Trader it is considering such a move. “The topic is continually under review and were it to become mandatory in the UK, MFG would comply,” it said.

Industry commentators have welcomed EG Group’s initiative. Dougie Blair from Beyond Innovation, posted on social media platform LinkedIn: “Clear signage, in BIG writing showing tariffs, should be mandatory on all DC rapid and ultra-rapid chargers.”

Also on LinkedIn, entrepreneur Kiristoffer Laurson agreed that ”displaying prices should be a requirement”, also suggesting that retailers should highlight how many chargers are available at any time.

Richard Hoggart, group chief executive at DSG Finance Group, said: “It’s a step forward. Would be even better if it displayed the average charging performance.”

Ireland last month announced that fuel stations with three or more pumps must display fuel price comparison values, giving consumers “visible, consistent and clear information”, including for charging, for every 100km travelled. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has told operators they can use posters or other signage.

Some forecourt operators in the Republic have complained that the plans have been introduced without sufficient industry input. Brian Donaldson, chief executive of The Maxol Group, which operates EV charging across the island of Ireland, said that the SEAI measures are ”overly onerous” and come at a time when Maxol and other providers are investing heavily in EV infrastructure.

“In the long-run, price comparisons should be considered for the UK market, but forecourt operators need longer lead-in times to prepare both operationally and financially,” said Donaldson. “Price comparison signage should not be introduced at the expense of the roll-out of EV charging facilities at forecourts. The principle is a good one, but the application needs further consideration.”