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Sorry if this had been covered before but I’m slightly confused with all different cards people are using to charge up with.
I’m looking on plug share and see stations that say “free”, are they actually free or are they free to use once I’ve purchased a membership card a X anout per month?


Thanks
Drew
 

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Generally, if they are shown as free on Plugshare / Zap-map then they will be free. Most ones will need an activation method. At Lidl (PodPoint 50kW), for instance, you will need the app to activate the charge. Lidl are mainly free for a period after the new shop opens, then they revert to pay as you go. Also, be aware that the "rapid" charge rate will never (very rarely) reach the rated charge level. Charge rate will more likely be between 40% and 85% of the rated charge point. 7kw charge points can charge at that rate.

Free ones (fast (not very) / destination charge points) are probably 7kW charge points. You can top up your battery, at a slowish rate, while you shop, exercise, go to the cinema (in a previous life!!). Couple of hours.
Rapid charge points (50kW and above) are located at various places en-route, designed to top-up your battery quickly (30 - 40 mins) so you can then continue your journey. Generally not free.

There seems to be an etiquette that has evolved that you generally only charge to 80% capacity on public rapid chargers. That's because the rate of charge slows dramatically above, roughly, 80%, which means you would be at the charge point for a lot longer than planned, if you want to charge above 80%. Also, while your charge is dribbling into your battery (above 80%) someone else could be waiting, also needing to charge. Much discussion to be had on this point.
 

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2021 Hyundai Kona Ultimate 64kWh
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As you appear to be in the UK, I suggest you use Zap Map. It's far more detailed about what network a charger belongs to, how to access it and at what cost.

The common names that have free chargepoints right now are Pod Point which is free to use but you need to download their app. Another network with free (But unreliable) charging options is Charge Your Car. Generally in my area it would be a £1 connection fee through their app, or no connection charge if you have their RFID Card which costs £20 per year for example.

Each network has a different policy. Some will work simply by plugging in an pressing start, some require an app, others require a smartcard.

Just don't expect good things from most of these free chargepoints. They are either going to be old and abandoned by the owners, or they are going to be abused due to their free nature. If you want to reliably charge on the go, you really need to expect to spend some money on the more reliable networks.
 

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This page on Zap Map in particular is worth a read if you're new to it. You can click through to details on how to use all of the networks big or small. This may vary depending on where you are in the country but, my anecdotal experience is that you'll mainly use these,
  • Ecotricity/Electric Highway - they're awful, but they're at motorway services so needs must sometimes. You need to get their app.
  • Polar (or I believe they're now called 'BP Pulse') - also patchy, but they have a lot of locations. Some of them offer contactless, but I'd get their app to be on the safe side.
  • Shell - getting their app and free RFID card through the app gets you a discount I believe! But also tends to offer normal contactless.
  • Instavolt - excellent reliability, can pay with normal contactless, dead simple.
  • Osprey - Believe you start charge on their app (which is basically a phone optimised website), but I'm doing this from memory and don't remember now.
  • Pod Point - run a lot of the slower 'destination chargers', and accessed via their app.
There are others that you might use depending on what is on the regular routes you take, but you'll figure it out as you go along. Ionity is growing but super expensive unless you get a discount rate from your vehicle manufacturer (I have an ID.3, so I do). But I'd say if you head out into the world armed with the ability to use the networks I listed, you'll probably find a charger on your travels that you can use most/all of the time!
 

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Good morning.... newbie here and very first post so be gentle please :)

Looking to sell my Sportage and get an ev and have been looking at all(?) the home charge points. Thought we'd go for the Zappi as it seems to integrate nicely with charging the car, making use of available solar (we have a 3.6kw array) and heating the water via the iboost we also have. Then i stumbled across the Andersen A2, looks lovely with no trailing lead ect. But am struggling to find out if its as 'smart' as the Zappi. An email to Andersen came back with a rather ambiguous reply. Can anyone out there help please.?

Cheers all

Nick
 

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EGolf
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Good morning.... newbie here and very first post so be gentle please :)

Looking to sell my Sportage and get an ev and have been looking at all(?) the home charge points. Thought we'd go for the Zappi as it seems to integrate nicely with charging the car, making use of available solar (we have a 3.6kw array) and heating the water via the iboost we also have. Then i stumbled across the Andersen A2, looks lovely with no trailing lead ect. But am struggling to find out if its as 'smart' as the Zappi. An email to Andersen came back with a rather ambiguous reply. Can anyone out there help please.?

Cheers all

Nick
Firstly think about how often you are likely to have to charge the car, for example if like me its probably once every 7 - 10 days for a top up then it might not be cost effective to pay the £500 or so for the home fast charge. For me at least the cost is the equivalent to over a years motoring. I just use the slow brick charger plugged into a 13a socket
 

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Have just this morning spoken with a technical 'bod' at Andersen, and he was able to confirm that the A2 charger requires a minimum of 1.7kw from solar pv generation before it starts to charge your car. And as the Solar iBoost+ will happily heat your water from as little as 50w, when there are 'overcast' mornings but we're still generating cira 500w-1kw of energy this is more than adequate to fully heat our hot water tank. And as the sun emerges to more than 1.7kw then the car will get its turn at being charged. Happy days :)(y)
 
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