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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Last update: 15th September 2021 - updated and added guidance.

I used to maintain a list of the main public charging networks in Great Britain on this page. I subsequently re-wrote it to provide links to the relevant information. I've now updated the page again and added some guidance for new EV users.

You can find details of public charging networks in the UK at: Public charging networks on Zap-Map.

The following sites provide maps of charging points (there are many others and you may need to check some networks' own sites for charger status):
  • Zap-Map: with route planner - my preference for its filtering capabilities to find chargers. Live status of chargers provided for some networks - see (*) below.
  • A Better Route Planner: I find the route planner better than Zap-Map's, but it rarely suggests the chargers I end up using. If you specify the chargers, you get a useful summary table.
  • PlugShare: with (untried) route planner.
  • ChargeMap.
  • WattsUp: only available as an app.
  • Moovility: The only site I know that provides information on the times of day that (some) chargers are most used (see 'prognosis'). Comments on whether this works welcome.
Guidance

You can't (shouldn't) just set off in an EV and expect to look for a charger when you get to 10% state of charge. You still have to plan for where to charge - and doing so makes things likely to work smoothly.

Of course, getting from A to B requires finding the best route. Standard route planners, such as Google Maps, are excellent at this, taking account of traffic levels, so I usually start with Google Maps and/or the route planner in my car (if it's any good). Use you favourite one.

Then, where should you charge? It's important to recognise that all charging networks are not equal. Some can be generally relied on and others seem to fail most times I try to use them. I currently try to stick to the following networks, in roughly this order. Networks marked (*) provide live data on charger status to Zap-Map:

Instavolt (*): takes contactless - I've not had a failed charge in 10s of charges.
Osprey (*): takes contactless.
Shell: takes contactless.
Geniepoint: you need an account, and can link any RFID card. I've had a few failures recently.
PodPoint: account and app.
Gridserve (*): has taken over the Ecotricity Electric Highway and is upgrading sites (current status of network upgrade at Gridserve upgrade). Avoid old Ecotricity chargers.
BP Pulse (*): I avoid when I can as we often have failures to charge, but it's the biggest network so can fill in gaps.
Ionity: an expensive fallback.
[We also use the Tesla network when in our Model 3, but still cover distances in our ZOE with the above.]

This list covers about half the rapid chargers in the UK. You need to add Charge Place Scotland in Scotland. Operation has recently been taken over by Swarco and there sound to be some (initial?) issues - see @freddym's post #68 and other threads. Apparently, real time information is not being provided to Zap-Map, and may not be correct on the app or their web site.

I have a filter set for the above networks on Zap-Map, which also specifies CCS rapids. It's very easy to look for chargers along a route and pick out ones around where I will either need to stop for a break or will need to charge. If it's a route I've not travelled before then I'll look to stop at about 30% SOC, such that there are other chargers I can reach if a charge fails or the charge point is blocked. In practice, with >50kWh batteries we find we stop because we need to, rather than the car needs charging. Still, need to have plans A, B and C.

I prefer sites with more than one charger and generally avoid motorway service stations, as they have historically had few chargers (which is changing), everyone else stops there and chargers get blocked (which aren't). We are seeing more sites with 6 to 12 chargers. I have such sites on the longer routes I travel most (except for across mid-Wales) and they make the journeys trivial.

When using the Networks filter on Zap-Map, note that networks appear to be listed in the order:
  1. 'Major' networks that provide real-time info to Zap-Map.
  2. 'Minor' networks that provide real-time info to Zap-Map.
  3. All other networks.
If you want an easy journey, one thing has not changed compared to ICE - try not to travel when everyone else does. Try getting to Devon on a Friday afternoon in summer. Not surprisingly, that's also the time that there will be a queue for the chargers!

Note: I'm very aware there are forum members who do more rapid charging than I do. Happy to take constructive comments and modify the above.
 

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Ampera aka IGOR
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The vast majority in Scotland are on the Chargeplace Scotland network which is managed by CYC and shown on their map/app and the ChargePlace Scotland map. You need to register a payment card in case the point you wish to use has a fee but again the vast majority of them are still free. If you want a card for RFID use then it is £20. All the details are here ChargePlace Scotland | Scotland's Public EV Charging Network. All types of chargers (excluding Tesla) are catered for.

Update. ChargePlace Scotland now has a new manager of the network. CYC cards will no longer work, there is a new app and a card which will cost £10.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for reminding me. I failed to add that from my spreadsheet. And I lived in Scotland for nearly 20 years!

I'll update it now.
 

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It may be worthwhile adding a distinction between pre-pay top-up (Polar Instant, Pod-Point, Chargepoint Genie), and true pay-as-you-go (Instavolt / Ecotricity Electric Highway), or monthly billed post-pay (Polar Plus / Charge your Car / Chargeplace Scotland)
Instavolt may be worth mentioning, as they are rapidly expanding, a true pay-as-you-go contactless payment at a flat £0.35/kWh.
Charge your Car has no RFID or subscription fees if you can make do with their mobile phone app.
Ecotricity Electric Highway. Well worth mentioning half price for Ecotricity energy customers.
Polar Instant is never free, £1.20 admin fee on top of any fee for any session.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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Chargeplace Scotland account gives you access to Charge your Car chargepoints and vice-versa, so no need to hold accounts with both schemes.

Polar Plus per kWh is actually from £0.108/kWh if you include VAT.
 

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There’s also

Engenie
EV Driver
Shell Recharge
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There’s also

Engenie
EV Driver
Shell Recharge
The old page was totally out of date. I'm just trying to list the biggest networks and get the facts correct. The link to zap-map lets people find out about the smaller / regional networks and I think they do a better job than I can.

All three networks you've listed have few (4 to 20) chargers in the UK at present and are fairly local. I'll add any to the page if and when they get larger - Shell is growing.

One option would be to just leave the link to the pages on zap-map, to guide speakEV users to that as a reference source. That would avoid the need to keep a separate list up to date. What do you think?
 

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I came across a ChargerNet rapid in Dorset last week- can be used with Polar Plus card. The Polar Plus card can also be used for ChargeYourCar posts (certainly here in the South East)- maybe worth adding a note above.
 
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Might be worth mentioning that Polar Plus gives access currently to Ultracharger network but Polar Instant doesn’t. This may change in the future.
 
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Comment about Chargeyourcar (CYC):

WARNING – CYC RIP-OFF. Used a charge point in Boscombe on 19/12 and paid via the CYC app. I had difficulty with ending the charge session on the CYC app. I have just received the invoice from CYC and was shocked to find that I had been charged £12 instead of £4. This for an overrun – wait for it – of TEN SECONDS over the one hour limit. After three calls and three emails CYC refused to budge on this. £8 extortion is annoying but I’m not going to pursue it further. But I have resolved to avoid CYC wherever possible in future. BE WARNED.
 

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@cDy

Charge now is identical to PolarPlus, with the exception that the Chargenow card will activate the charge master posts at BMW dealerships. A lot of the older BMW sites have 7kw posts that cannot be accessed with a polarplus rfid card but can with chargenow although there are also a lot now that do work with polarplus
 

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I’ve been in touch with the EO home charge provider who have been very prompt and helpful,and have put me in touch with their installer in Manchester ( Griff Services ) . Wondered if anyone has had any experience of installation of the EO home charger, which I am considering for my Nissan Leaf, which is due to arrive in May. Thanks in advance.
 

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Good list - thank you

I’ll be using Ecotricity motorway chargers.

Can’t change supplier (yet) but what’s the cheapest way to use them?

Or alternative thoughts to travel the M4 cheaply?

JJ
 

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Might be worth mentioning that Polar Plus gives access currently to Ultracharger network but Polar Instant doesn’t. This may change in the future.
Not so. There are a large number of Chargemaster Ultracharger units that accept Polar Instant, any new installs have to be made available without membership requirement, but you still have the Polar Instant tariff of £1.20+£12.00/hour, rather than the £7.86/month membership + £0.108/kWh tariff that subscribers to their Polar Plus membership product get. Some of them (TfL and Nottingham funded installs), also have contactless payment facilities that sometimes work.
Some Ultracharger units are still not currently available on Polar Instant. That may change.
 

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I came across a ChargerNet rapid in Dorset last week- can be used with Polar Plus card. The Polar Plus card can also be used for ChargeYourCar posts (certainly here in the South East)- maybe worth adding a note above.
ChargerNet is (to all intents and purposes for the EV driver) a regional brand for CYC, as is GMEV, Energise, Source West.
 

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Newbie question: am I correct in saying that you can access the Chargeplace Scotland network with either their app or the CYC app; therefore no need for the card and no annual fee? Thanks

The vast majority in Scotland are on the Chargeplace Scotland network which is managed by CYC and shown on their map/app and the ChargePlace Scotland map. You need to register a payment card in case the point you wish to use has a fee but again the vast majority of them are still free. If you want a card for RFID use then it is £20. All the details are here ChargePlace Scotland | Scotland's Public EV Charging Network. All types of chargers (excluding Tesla) are catered for.
 
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