Short Circuit

Controversy around Ionity’s new pricing continues


Everything was to be so simple – one price for everyone charged per kWh at all stations within the Ionity high power charging network. Only it wasn’t that simple, as mobility service operators got exclusive deals to charge differently – to much dismay and a competitor’s delight.

Ionity had announced its changed pricing model was earlier this month, claiming a price of 79 cents/kWh – pricy but transparent, or so it was marketed. However, depending on your electric car and charge card, it turns out you get to pay a different price.

MSP’s individual offers can be broken down to significantly lower rates for customers of German car manufacturers – who just happen to be the HPC network’s prime stakeholders.

The Swiss e-mobility pioneer Marco Piffaretti has now added another dimension – one of unequal competition. He calls Ionity’s practice to negotiate deals with mobility service providers “questionable, also because the EU heavily subsidises Ionity”. Indeed, the high power charging joint venture secured financing for the EUROP-E project, which Ionity is coordinating. Ionity will invest a total of 195.5 million euros in the project, which runs until the end of 2021, of which the EU will provide up to 39.1 million euros through its ‘Connecting Europe Facility for Transport’ (CEF-T) program. At the same time, the planned and partly funded stations are also part of the Ionity network of 400 HPC locations in 23 European countries, which is being promoted by the joint venture under its flag.

However, Ionity states that none of the charging stations built in Switzerland have been financed with EU funding, as electrive has learnt.

Still Piffaretti, perhaps taking a wider view as well as personal view (he had tried himself as CPO before), on his blog asks: “Is it legal and acceptable that EU subsidies are used outside the EU, and thus few car brands gain a price-consuming market advantage over Swiss operators?”

While we leave this question to the authorities, for now, Ionity rival Allego took the opportunity to fire the first shots with an ad underlining that at their ultra-rapid charge points, all EVs are treated equally. (Switzerland, in German)


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