UK EV Rental Scheme Killed As Per-Hour Charging Deemed Too Expensive

Milton Keynes, the UK city famous for having a US-style grid layout, has taken to electric vehicles more than most. It has electric buses that recharge wirelessly and a council committed to bringing EV charging to its population. They even have an EV rental scheme provided by Hertz on Demand where customers can rent a Nissan LEAFs from £5 per hour.

However Hertz may be pulling all of its electric cars out of Milton Keynes following the release of charging costs being levied by Chargemaster/POLAR which include prices of up to £3 per hour for a 7kW fast charge.

Two weeks ago we brought you news of Chargemaster – a UK charging infrastructure company – that had reiterated its commitment to introduce fees for charging across its network in the UK. No information about the different tariffs were available at the time, but a statement on the Milton Keynes council website has given us some insight.

It also went on to report that the car rental company Hertz may have to cut short their trial of low carbon vehicle rental that is taking place in the area due to the introduction of these charges. The original trial was meant to last until July 2014 but the website says that it is likely to end on the first of April due to these charges making it finically unviable for them to continue.

Could EV Rental Be Coming to an End in Milton Keynes?

The rental scheme operated by Hertz on Demand allows residents in Milton Keynes to rent a Nissan LEAF at a cost starting at £5 per hour. Hertz worked with Chargemaster/POLAR to allow these vehicles to charge from the charging stations within the city and all those across their whole network.

David Martell, Chief Executive of Chargemaster plc, said at the time: “Chargemaster is delighted to be participating in such an innovative programme along with Hertz and Milton Keynes Council. Users will have the benefit of being able to charge their cars at many places across the region and nationally through the POLAR charging network, making everyday usage a viable proposition. This scheme will further help familiarise people with electric vehicles and encourage an increase in their adoption.”

Charging Costs

Currently there are no rapid chargers on the POLAR network (operated by Chargemaster) in Milton Keynes, however there are rapid 3kW and 7kW chargers (16A at single phase and 32A at single phase respectively). From the first of April members of the network, who will have to pay a £20 per year fee, will be charged the following amounts for use:

  • £1 per hour (or part of) for a 3kW charge – $1.67/€1.21.
  • £2 per hour (or part of) for a 7kW charge – $3.34/€2.43.
Will These be the Nationwide Costs for Charging Using the POLAR Network?

Will These be the Nationwide Costs for Charging Using the POLAR Network?

These charging stations will be available to those who are not a member of the network but with a 50% additional surcharge making it £1.50 per hour (or part of) for 3kW and £3 per hour (or part of) for 7kW. The same statement says that these costs are made up of 40% electricity cost and 20% VAT. The remaining 40% is not accounted for on the website but we assume this would be overheads for the system plus a profit margin.

At this time, we do not know if the cost for charging on the Chargemaster/POLAR network will vary from region to region of if the prices listed above will apply nation-wide.

What do you think? Is it the right time to be charging for charging? Is there a better model? What do you think of the prices to be rolled out in Milton Keynes? Is this a positive step even if it cuts short an EV rental scheme early? Let us know below.


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