Energy giant signs charging network operator Ionity up to fast expanding network, as latest sales figures underscore growing popularity of EVs
Octopus Energy announced this week it has significantly expanded its roaming EV charging service, the Electric Juice Network (EJN), after signing up German charging network IONITY. The addition means the charge network will for the first time offer drivers access to charge points outside of the UK, while also adding a range of 350kW ultra-rapid chargers to the service.
Octopus said high-powered chargers had been requested by customers and would benefit customers travelling long distances. IONITY’s ultra-rapid chargers can charge an EV with a 50kWh battery – such as a standard range Tesla Model 3 – from 20 per cent to 80 per cent, in less than 10 minutes, it explained.
IONITY, which has 13 charging locations in the UK but more than 335 across 24 countries on mainland Europe, follows charge point operators Char.gy, Hubsta, Franklin Energy LiFe, Alfa Power, Plug-N-Go, and Osprey, in joining the EJN, which allows drivers to use charge points from a number of operators, with all costs charged through their Octopus Energy bill.
Zoisa North-Bond, director at Octopus Energy, said the expansion EJN network would encourage more drivers to go electric and thus reduce the emissions generated by road transport. “More partners coming on board to EJN makes it easier for petrol car drivers to consider electric vehicles and simplifies the whole process for current EV drivers,” she said. “IONITY joining is a fantastic milestone and gives EJN users more flexibility, opens up easier long-distance travel and begins bringing our mainland Europe charging coverage to life, so I’m thrilled that they’ve joined the Electric Juice Network.”
Octopus Energy recently set up an international office in Germany and said that customers in the country would be the second to benefit from the EJN network.
The news comes as car sales figures for the month of February released by the SMMT this morning revealed that battery and hybrid vehicles were once again the only segments to weather the downturn in auto sales seen since the onset of the pandemic.
While overall car sales fell 36 per cent compared to Feburary 2020 – marking the “weakest February since 1959”, according to the industry group – sales of pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids were up 40.2 per cent and 52.1 per cent, respectively, according to the monthly update. Overall, these two categories were responsible for one in eight new vehicle sales, the SMMT said.
However, the group warned that despite this encouraging growth increasing the uptake of EVs and plug-in hybrids to the levels required ahead of the government’s ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles from 2030 remained a “mammoth task”. As such it argued that yesterday’s Budget proved “a missed opportunity given the lack of measures to support the market overall and notably the transition away from pure petrol and diesel cars and vans”.
Lucy Simpson, head of EV enablement at power company Centrica, said the figures revealed the UK was on the “right track” to reduce the emissions profile of road transport. However, she warned that charging infrastructure needed to be improved and enhanced across the UK.
“Accelerating the rate of EV adoption needs to be one of the priorities if we’re going to achieve the government’s ‘road to zero’ targets and today’s figures show the UK is on the right track, with registrations up 40 per cent compared to this time last year,” she said. “As adoption levels grow, the rollout of charging infrastructure needs to be ramped up too. Without accessible charging points across the country, many consumers will be hesitant to purchase EVs.”
Read more: businessgreen.com