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E-Flux calls for fair and transparent pricing

On 21 December 2023 Shell implemented a blanket “blocking fee” to their roaming tariffs for all charge points on the E-Flux network. Here's why we believe this is unfair practice.

04 January 2024

by Road

At a glance

Shell has implemented a "blocking fee" for electric vehicles that remain connected to charge points beyond a set time. We disputes Shell's justification, emphasising that such a fee has not been adopted across our network.

“Blocking fees” are additional costs that are applied when a certain period of time has passed and an electric vehicle is fully charged, but still occupies the charging point, blocking it for other visitors.

Shell’s move is based on a false narrative that Road charges a similar fee. Road has not – and will not – implement a blanket blocking fee across our network as Shell did. Instead we give charge point owners in our network the choice to implement advanced tariff structures. To date, only 5% of charge point owners on the network charge an hour fee and less than 1% charge a “blocking fee”. Any other statements about these tariffs on our network are simply false.

We believe that Shell’s blocking fee is unfair and has negative consequences for the industry as a whole, and particularly for Shell Recharge cardholders as it isn’t a fair pricing model and potentially makes charging more expensive.

We do not charge a transaction fee or blanket fee. Road’s tariff structures are in line with the industry-accepted OCPI tariff module, which we have fully implemented, but many players have not. The transparency provided by this module is key to fair pricing and future growth in our market, and requires specific technical capabilities for true transparency.

In the Road network, charge point owners have flexibility to set charging tariffs as they require, including kWh rates, minute rates and idle fees. EV drivers pay the exact tariff that charge point owners set. We communicate the tariffs to all our roaming partners to be transparently shared with EV drivers. We believe this is the fairest and most transparent solution for both charge point owners and EV drivers.

What does it mean for EV drivers?

The Shell “blocking fee” is activated after 240 minutes (4 hours) of charging, and costs €0.05 per minute, with a maximum of €12 per charging session. Drivers can still charge their EVs after 240 minutes, but will then pay the “blocking fee” on top of their regular charging costs.

The pricing structure that Shell uses for their charge card is a flat rate across Charge Point Operator (CPO) roaming partners. Shell does not charge the EV driver the exact tariff that the charge point owner sets, but creates their own tariff across CPOs. The “blocking fee” set by Shell does not reflect actual pricing on our network and is therefore not a real blocking fee, but merely a way for them to increase their price for charging on our network.

If your company uses Shell Recharge cards to charge at a Road charge point, we believe it is in your best interest to switch to an E-Flux by Road charge card. From a cost perspective, at Road charge points, there are no roaming or transaction fees if you use an E-Flux by Road charge card. Another provider’s charge card will always include roaming fees, and in Shell’s case, additional new “blocking fees”, making it more expensive. Using the E-Flux by Road card also allows CPOs to set specific driver access and tariffs.

When drivers use the E-Flux by Road card to charge on our roaming network, our transaction fees per charging session are lower than Shell Recharge’s (€0,32 vs €0,35). For drivers who use their card 10 times or more per month, our Orange subscription has a better monthly cost too (€3,32 p/m vs up to €7 p/m).

We’ve been in conversations with Shell about this topic for some time, and we’re concerned about the negative impact this new fee structure has on EV drivers and charge point owners. We will continue our talks with Shell to urge them to directly use the actual tariffs set by the charge point owner. This is ultimately the fairest way for charge point owners and EV drivers to transact with each other.

We hope Shell will resolve these issues in the interest of fairness and growth for the EV industry. Please contact us if you have any questions. We will update you if anything changes.

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