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Gridserve agrees to drop exclusive rights on motorways as calls are made for safer public charging

  • Gridserve agrees not to enforce exclusive rights to operate rapid charging at motorway services
  • Decision will increase choice for EV drivers, says competitions watchdog
  • Comes as electric car expert calls for better public charging

Time 11:10 am, March 8, 2022

Electric car charging firm Gridserve has agreed not to enforce its exclusive rights to operate rapid charging points at motorway service areas after November 2026, according to the competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the commitment it secured from Gridserve – which owns Electric Highway – will increase choice for EV drivers who need to top up their batteries.

Gridserve’s network covers two thirds of the UK’s service stations.

The CMA launched an investigation into the firm in July 2021.

Gridserve has also agreed not to enforce its exclusive rights at Extra, Moto or Roadchef sites that are granted support under the government’s Rapid Charging Fund.

This fund is expected to be available only for service areas with more than one chargepoint operator.

CMA senior director of antitrust Ann Pope said: ‘We need a combination of investment now and healthy competition going forward to make sure chargepoints are installed at scale where people need them, for a fair price.

‘Today’s commitments strike the right balance.

‘Gridserve will continue to invest in the much-needed roll-out of chargepoints across the country but the exclusivity linked to its investment won’t be an undue barrier to others competing in the near future.’

The commitment comes as an industry expert has called for safer public charging.

Journalist and CEO of electric car website, Ginny Buckley, has teamed up with WalkSafe to apply pressure on local authorities and charge point operators to make public charging safer.

The changes being called for are better lighting at charge points, the installation of CCTV, improved signage and the adoption of what3words at charging points, and a commitment from operators to ensure broken chargers are fixed within a set period of time.

Buckley said: ‘We know that petrol stations are well lit, easily found, and reliable.

‘Here at we think that the experience of filling up your car with electricity should be no different, which is why together with WalkSafe, we’re calling on operators and local councils to put the personal safety of all drivers first.

‘The UK is leading the way when it comes to electric cars, and we want to make sure that everyone – regardless of their gender – feels comfortable making the switch.

‘Some network operators are doing a brilliant job, but others are lagging behind, so the time is right to call for these simple but effective changes to put drivers at ease and increase confidence in our public charging network.’

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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