Polar Network Electric Car Charging Prices Lowered Ahead of April 1 Launch

With less than 24-hours to go before its Polar Network of nationwide UK electric car charging stations start to charge electric car owners for the time they spend plugged in, Chargemaster PLC appears to have quietly reduced its tariffs — some time in the past few weeks.

Polar Network appears to have slashed its prices, but Chargemaster denies any change.

Polar Network appears to have slashed its prices, but Chargemaster denies any change.

Announced earlier this year, Chargemaster’s plans to charge electric car owners up to £1.30 per hour for charging at a 13-amp domestic socket charging station or up to £8.50 per half hour of quick charger use caused an uproar among electric car owners.

Since then, we’ve been contacted by numerous electric car owners who say they’ve cancelled their Polar Network membership in protest, will refuse to use the network and in some extreme cases, are even considering a petrol-powered car as their next EV due to Polar’s extortionate rates for public charging.

The proposed tariffs even caused Hertz to announce it was prematurely ending a trial electric car rental fleet program in Milton Keynes early, saying that the new charges meant that offering the fleet was no-longer financially viable.

But this morning, we noticed that Polar’s tariffs — due to come into force tomorrow –– are slightly lower than they once were. (To illustrate this, we’ve included an image below showing screengrabs from the same website. The first is from March 6. The second is from today.)

Can you spot the difference?

Can you spot the difference?

As before, Chargemaster is advertising three different methods of paying for electric car charging: Polar Economy Plus; Polar Standard; and Polar Instant.

Cheaper type 2 charging.

As before, Polar Economy Plus Tariff will cost members £12 per month, paid by direct debit to Chargemaster. This will entitle members to twenty credits per month, which they can use to pay for the electricity they use at public charging points.

As previously, one credit is still equal to one hour of use at a 13-amp domestic outlet-style charging station and a half-hour or part thereof at a quick charging station is still equal to ten credits.  But Chargemaster has lowered the cost of charging at a type 2 charging station from 2 credits per hour to 1.5 credits per hour.

As before, overage charges will remain the same for 13 amp charging stations and rapid charging stations (£0.95 and £6 respectively) if you manage to use up all of your monthly credits. Type 2 overage charges have been reduced however, from £1.90 per hour to £1.45 per hour.

These are the tariffs as listed on March 6.

BEFORE: Tariffs as listed on March 6, 2014

Similarly, Polar’s Standard tariff — a £12 membership fee plus a per-use fee — has a discount on Type 2 charging. While 13-amp charging station and quick charging station use (£1 per hour or £7 per 30 minutes) remain the same, Chargemaster has quietly reduced Type 2 charging costs from £2 per hour to £1.50 per hour.

Cheaper pay-as-you-go

The biggest changes seem to come from the Polar Instant Smartphone App — which we note still doesn’t have an active website the day before the service was originally due to go live, nor can we find any Smartphone apps listed in either Android or Apple stores.

Instead of the £1.30 previously listed for 13-amp charging, Chargemaster has reduced the Polar Instant rate to £1.20 per hour. Type 2 charging has similarly been reduced from £2.50 per hour to £1.70 per hour, a far larger reduction than any other tariff across the Polar Network.

Finally, rapid charging has been reduced from £8.50 to £7.50 per half hour under the quiet tariff changes.

RELATED: Polar Network tells customer he’s been charging his electric car for 44 years

Quiet change, little difference?

Here at Transport Evolved, we’re intrigued by the last-minute change in tariffs, and can only assume it is a direct response at the number of criticisms we’ve heard lately stating that the previously advertised prices were simply too high.

But with the new tariffs only marginally better than the old ones and customers still forced to pay per hour or part thereof for slow and fast chargers and 30 minutes or part thereof for rapid charging, we’re wondering how many EV owners will be tempted back to Polar by the marginally more affordable rates.

Today: Chargemaster says the tariffs haven't changed

Today: Chargemaster says the tariffs haven’t changed

Questions unanswered

Transport Evolved contacted Chargemaster for comment on the pricing drop, but was told over the telephone that Polar Network’s prices have not changed.

“These have always been the prices,” we were told. “We are simply clearing up some ambiguity on our pricing, which did not make clear the Type 2 charging rate.”

Chargemaster PLC declined to comment further on the matter and maintain that the tariffs detailed now have not changed.


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