Drivers to benefit from greater electric car charging choice at service stations

Gridserve, the company which operates most electric car charging points along the UK's motorway network, will waive its right to exclusivity in a bid to encourage competition...


Drivers could soon enjoy more choice and potentially lower prices at electric car charging points found at motorway service stations across the country. 

That’s thanks to a new agreement reached with Gridserve, the company which operates most charging points along the UK’s motorway network.

Working with the Competition and Markets Authority, charging provider Gridserve says it will not enforce its contracts to be the exclusive electric charging provider at Extra, Moto and Roadchef service stations from November 2026. Between them, those providers operate more than 70 motorway service stations across the UK.

Volkswagen ID.3 2021 charging

In addition, Gridserve will not enforce its existing exclusive rights contracts at any Extra, Moto or Roadchef service station that is the recipient of funding from the Government’s Rapid Charging Fund, even before 2026.

The £950 million Rapid Charging Fund was announced in March 2020 to help motorway and A-road service area operators install charging points for electric vehicles. Interestingly, it is understood that the Rapid Charging Fund could only be applied for from sites with more than one charge point operator.

Opening up the UK’s A-road and motorway service stations to more competition from other charge point providers could lead to lower prices for drivers, as well as increased reliability.

In a recent survey of the UK’s main charging point providers, the Electric Highway (the network now owned by Gridserve, which forms the bulk of the motorway charging network) came sixth out of 12 main charging providers. The majority of its charge points were rated as unreliable, with drivers also criticising the service for offering little value for money.

Gridserve charger

Gridserve itself was found to offer great value for money. Indeed, the firm was the recipient of our Innovation Award at the most recent What Car? Awards. It impressed us with its ‘electric forecourt’ concept, which offers lots of charging points, and keeps costs low by using renewable energy sources. The firm plans to expand rapidly across the UK, opening more electric forecourts in busy locations.

The Department for Transport says it aims to have six 150-350kW charging points – among the fastest currently available – open at motorway and A-road service stations by 2023, growing to 2500 by 2030 and 6000 by 2035. The sale of new cars powered solely by petrol and diesel will be banned from 2030.

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Read more: The best and worst electric cars 2022 >>