Motorway services set to open up for new charging operators from 2026

Ginny Buckley

17.11.2021

A statement made by the Government’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has revealed that Gridserve plans to shorten a number of existing contracts with motorway service station operators to allow other charge providers to build additional hubs.

The report, published today (17 November, 2021) states that Gridserve, which acquired the Electric Highway from Ecotricity in June 2021, has responded to the CMA’s investigation into a number of exclusive deals set up between Electric Highway and the UK’s biggest motorway services operators. All these arrangements were in place before Gridserve’s aquisition of Electric Highway. 

In response to the investigation, Gridserve has offered the CMA assurances that it will not enforce exclusive rights in contracts with Extra, MOTO or Roadchef, after 2026, which currently cover around two-thirds of motorway service stations. In doing so, Gridserve has committed to reducing the length of the exclusive rights in the current contracts with MOTO by around two years and Roadchef by around four years. The contract with the third operator, Extra, is due to end in 2026).

Gridserve has also confirmed that it will not enforce exclusive rights at any Extra, MOTO or Roadchef sites that have been granted funding under the UK government’s Rapid Charging Fund (RCF). This means that, where funding has been granted, competitor chargepoint operators will be able to install chargepoints regardless of the exclusive element of the Electric Highway’s contracts.

Electrifying.com understands that each of the motorway service station operators – Extra, MOTO and Roadchef – and Gridserve have also offered commitments not to take any action that would undermine the above commitments. Although the investigation is still ongoing, the CMA has stated that Gridserve’s commitments address the Government’s concerns.

The CMS statement will come as welcome news to electric car owners hoping to see an improvement to the motorway service charging network. While the 2026 deadline for the end of exclusive contracts will be seen as too long my many, the CMA points out that Gridserve has already made a significant investment in the network and has committed to significantly increasing the number of charge points over the next four years. 

The full CMA statement can be read here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-to-open-up-electric-vehicle-charging-competition-on-motorways

Mazda MX 30 sport tech electric car charging at Gridserve Motorway services will be open to other charge point providers from 2026

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