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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Got stung recently a month later from using a charger that I had gotten used to and had always been free (and Zap-Map said was free) to find it had gone chargeable. On one hand I know people scoff when I moan about a non-free charge-point, but I should point out that the "free" posts are part of why I pay them £94.20 a year in subscription costs.

Tweeted the car-park owner and they sent some passive aggressive tweet back saying they'd published it in the local newspapers weeks ago (yeah, not from the area.. putting a sign next to the charger saying prices have changed or its new cost would have probably have been a little more helpful but ce la vie).

All this led me to wondering (along with an e-mail I received from Polar beginning of the year saying Harvester are now charging for some of their posts too) as the hunt for free 22kW Polar-Plus chargers (and in some areas even free 7kW Polar posts that aren't ASDA) is getting less and less fruitful how many remain.. and how can one easily find them (without the unscientific click around the map)?

Is this part of the business model for Harvester etc. as they install their posts? Put them as free for a bit, get people using them then charge as you always planned to? The Polar e-mail about the Harvester posts being chargeable was interesting because Polar explained the decision to charge is down to the post owner and not Polar. Will ASDA one day decide to charge for all their posts?

Included in this cost is free use of around 80% of the POLAR network devices.
Says Zap-Map

Around 70% of our charging points are then free to use
Says Polar

Who is right and are the number of free posts decreasing by over 10% (or although unlikely, even increasing by over 10%)? and is it really still true that more than 50% of Polar posts are free (the free 22kW posts seem to be declining from my unscientific test)? Also are posts installed in hotels etc available for Polar Plus members or is there the expectation they're customer use only? I've seen someone ask this before and it appears there's no hard and fast rule.

I will concede, to be completely fair, as Polar are aggressively deploying rapid charge units (and doing a good job in doing so) that given Rapids are almost always chargeable that this is probably denting their "free stats" too because the number of free posts could be staying roughly constant (give or take the few posts I already know have changed) but the number of chargeable posts is increasing.

I'd love it if Zap-Map / Polar-Plus Website would let me filter on Polar by cost.. but I can see the business drive in not allowing me to do this.
 

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I have a local car park with x2 22kw posts. Been using them happily for a month or so as they are apparently free for Polar + subscribers. Get my first invoice, one is free and the other charges at 9p per kw !. I have written a snotty letter to Polar to amend my invoice but not heard anything back and they have now collected the money from my account. I am only using the free one from now on and await their response which will probably be to add a charge on the free post.
 

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Is this part of the business model for Harvester etc. as they install their posts? Put them as free for a bit, get people using them then charge as you always planned to? The Polar e-mail about the Harvester posts being chargeable was interesting because Polar explained the decision to charge is down to the post owner and not Polar. Will ASDA one day decide to charge for all their posts?
I think it’s fairly clear that sites have only ever been free on Polar where the site owner pays for the electricity, so in that sense all posts are potentially at risk - though a few 7kW posts that cost under £1/hr to run are probably easier to justify as a customer perk than rapids.

It’s not clear who funds the rest of the costs (equipment, installation, maintenance etc). Historically, the answer was “anyone but Chargemaster”, with mostly grant-funded, installations. That has possibly changed, with the new wave of own-make rapids seemingly being rolled out mostly without OLEV funding. It would be interesting to know what the deal is for host sites, but I don’t think anyone has spilled the beans as yet. Quite possibly varies from site to site.
 

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I think it’s fairly clear that sites have only ever been free on Polar where the site owner pays for the electricity, so in that sense all posts are potentially at risk - though a few 7kW posts that cost under £1/hr to run are probably easier to justify as a customer perk than rapids.

It’s not clear who funds the rest of the costs (equipment, installation, maintenance etc). Historically, the answer was “anyone but Chargemaster”, with mostly grant-funded, installations. That has possibly changed, with the new wave of own-make rapids seemingly being rolled out mostly without OLEV funding. It would be interesting to know what the deal is for host sites, but I don’t think anyone has spilled the beans as yet. Quite possibly varies from site to site.
They're quite open about it - Chargemaster pay for the lot: https://chargemasterplc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Network-offer-brochure-final.pdf

The host site pays nothing, other than the option for them to either pay for the electricity or for Chargemaster to recover it for them (e.g. the 10.8p/kWh).

They've changed a bit since the OLEV 'pot of gold' days. Clearly the Polar Plus subscriptions are giving them a nice income now and so they're investing in their network (take note EH).
 

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Interesting, particularly the point that site hosts have to make the point available to all comers (rather than reserved for guests) to get the free offer. And it certainly confirms the link of free-to-use = site pays for power.

The economics look sketchy - they quote 150 charges/month as the usage, so at the £1.20 polar-instant rate it would take 14 years to pay back the notional £30,000 value of the "free" install, without any allowance for maintenance or ROI. Possibly they are looking at higher traffic in later years, though 150/month is already 5/day and it will be pushing to do much better than that on a single unit without queueing; multiple units per site would improve that, but then the "free" offer breaks down because someone's got to pay for bringing more power to the site.

Probably the £30k figure is an overstatement of their direct costs - but that's robbing margin from the manufacturing side of their business to make these install figures look good.

Currently they seem to be pushing people to get the monthly subscription, presumably on the basis that people will use it less than 6 times per month - though that in itself seems a risky assumption as the network gets bigger and therefore more useable.
 

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(and Zap-Map said was free)
You can see which are free and which charge (no pun) using the Polar Live map. One thing to be aware of though - some are still CYC chargers, they will charge the CYC rate and not the usual Polar rate. So if it says CYC charge £4.50 per charge it will cost you £4.50.
 

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as the hunt for free 22kW Polar-Plus chargers (and in some areas even free 7kW Polar posts that aren't ASDA)
Again you will find them on the Polar Plus Live map. Sadly there is no filter to point them out(n). But you will see only Polar chargers and not have to hunt through the rest.
 

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Currently they seem to be pushing people to get the monthly subscription
Doesn't that become illegal in November 19 and is illegal on any installs after November 2018 (or is that a year earlier for both ie 2017 and 2019)?
 

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Doesn't that become illegal in November 19 and is illegal on any installs after November 2018 (or is that a year earlier for both ie 2017 and 2019)?
I said "pushing" rather than "forcing" - they appear to be complying with the law but doing the bare minimum they can to do so:
  • For Ultracharger installs before the deadline date, not putting them on Polar Instant
  • Despite hardware that can notionally support Contactless, not enabling it unless required by contract with hosts (eg. Nottingham)
  • Providing the PolarInstant app as their default response to the 'ad-hoc access' legal requirement, but doing nothing to improve the poor user experience with that app. (not entirely clear with this one how much is deliberate and how much is ineptness).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You can see which are free and which charge (no pun) using the Polar Live map. One thing to be aware of though - some are still CYC chargers, they will charge the CYC rate and not the usual Polar rate. So if it says CYC charge £4.50 per charge it will cost you £4.50.
Thank you, sorry yes I should have said the website does list them if you click on them individually but the site is so glitchy (especially on a mobile browser) I never use it as it's pretty unusable. I think you answered my question with there not being an easy way.

Also there is no Polar Live map app for Android.. it's the website or nothing. Polar Instant members have an app for them but nothing for Polar Plus.. although there are (confirmed by Polar) twitter rumours they're working on one for release imminently.

Zap-Map have done a fantastic job IMHO, not perfect but close enough to it.
 

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Further to raising the point with Polar about one of their 22kw posts being free and the other one next to it charging 9p per KW, you guessed it, they both are now showing as 9p on the map. Will have to keep quiet next time I find a free one.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Further to raising the point with Polar about one of their 22kw posts being free and the other one next to it charging 9p per KW, you guessed it, they both are now showing as 9p on the map. Will have to keep quiet next time I find a free one.
:(.. wonder if we're now on 60% free :whistle:
 

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My take is none of chargemaster are free as already pointed out. For free I like podpoint, but even then I think some charge.
I don't actually mind paying or using any network, but I think everyone should be allowed to use them, you have to be careful of restrictions and time limits and that's a bad thing.
 
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