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Billionaire 'cable cowboy' plugs in to electric car charging

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electric car charger
electric car charger

One of the world's leading telecoms tycoons is shifting focus to the UK's burgeoning electric car market by creating the charging venture Egg.

John Malone, the billionaire "cable cowboy", has forged a new venture offering electrical vehicle drivers charging points and ongoing support at their home for a fee of around £30 a month.

The venture is being launched in the UK through the investment arm of Liberty Global, the telecoms holding company controlled by Mr Malone, which also co-owns Virgin Media O2.

Egg, which will also sell solar panels and battery storage, is part of Liberty's growing bet on the booming electric vehicle market after forming a joint venture with Zouk Capital last year to roll out street charging points across the UK.

The number of battery-powered electric vehicles bought in Britain rose by 76pc to 190,727 last year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Egg was forged after Liberty Global snapped up the specialist green energy firm The Phoenix Works in 2020. The company confirmed Egg's launch after listing it in the UK's trademark journal earlier this month.

Liberty Global is eyeing a gap in the market, as charging point manufacturers tend to install the equipment for a one-off fee without offering any follow-up services.

The push comes as the government is poised to end its electrical vehicle home-charge scheme in March, which offers £350 grants for installing charging points.

Liberty Global is listed in America, but has significant investments in the UK. It is the biggest shareholder in ITV, Britain's largest commercial broadcaster, and owns stakes in Formula E and All3Media, the production company behind BBC's Call the Midwife.

Alongside co-investor Telefonica, Liberty Global merged Virgin Media with the mobile operator O2 in a £31bn deal last year that created a telecoms giant with £11bn revenues and 47m customers.

Lutz Schuler, the boss of Virgin Media O2, is trying to secure wholesale customers for Virgin's network as he challenges BT by expanding deeper into full-fibre broadband.

Virgin Media O2 is upgrading 14m premises from cable to fibre-optic broadband by 2028.

Liberty Global and Telefonica also have bolder plans to expand that network by an extra 7m to 10m premises to help it reach four fifths of the UK, potentially in partnership with an outside investor.

Virgin Media O2 recently announced plans to not re-introduce European roaming charges after Brexit, upping the pressure on rivals Three, Vodafone and BT's EE, which are replying to the fees.

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