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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve just joined the EV world and am trying to formulate a sensible strategy for public charging given that I do quite a few long journeys, and maybe 15k miles/year. Finding them is no issue, but should I be taking out any subscriptions? Which companies should I avoid? Is it worth taking out multiple subscriptions? Or do entirely PAYG?
 

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I’ve just joined the EV world and am trying to formulate a sensible strategy for public charging given that I do quite a few long journeys, and maybe 15k miles/year. Finding them is no issue, but should I be taking out any subscriptions? Which companies should I avoid? Is it worth taking out multiple subscriptions? Or do entirely PAYG?
There is no specific answer for this question.
your location will be the dictating factor of which networks you will need to subscribe.
Only Scotland have a 1 operator system (although others are arriving). Wales and England have multiple operators depending on the region.
Unless you live up here in Scotland I am certain you will need more than 1 subscription.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I'm down south and the multiplicity of companies and rates is becoming bit of a mess! The challenge is that, for a newbie, it's incredibly hard to get an overview of things such as

  • how much rates vary
  • how availability and reliability compares between companies
  • what the various pricing structures actually are
hence, hoping someone with similar driving pattern to me can advise based on experience
 

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I would have a different approach.
Your first priority would be location of the charging stations and which operator owns it.
I'm probably not the best person to advise for this issue outside Scotland.
Can't you have all apps on the phone? Not all operators have RIFD cards and I'm under the impression that all operators work with app (as long you have coverage)
You will need to create a table with each operator rates not forgetting the activation fee that some will charge you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Indeed. The hope of my post is that someone else has already compiled such a table!
 

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I've done one for energy suppliers but never crossed my mind one for that :)
Keep in mind that some of the energy companies will offer you subscription for a network, I'm thinking of OVO and Polar.
 

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BMW i3 60ah BEV / BMW i3 60ah REx (Sold)
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Morning,

I'm also down South and do similar mileage. Although I do most of my charging from home, with a 60ah i3 I do regularly carry out 'top up' charges as I often need to go on site visits for work and work is already 35% of my range away.

I only really avoid Ecotricity - I've only heard negative things about them, I think they're just not maintained and also don't seem to be i3 friendly. Bear in mind I only use 'rapid' chargers with 50kw outputs when I'm public charging.

I only use apps, no RFID cards, not yet needed one. Instavolt is the favourite at the moment, can use contactless or app, Shell chargers are good with their app (think they're contactless as well), Geniepoint also works well with contactless or their web-based app. ChargeYourCar works fine with the app but not all chargers are on the app, similar to Polar Instant - check the app first to make sure the chargers there and they're not Polar Plus (which you need an RFID card for). Not tried any others.

When planning a journey I always plan the route first with Zapmap and check regularly in advance to make sure my planned charger is still available and working. You can create a default filter on the app so it only shows rapid chargers that are working, you don't need to see any others.

In the event of a charger being out of use or breaking, my back up plan would be any nearby 7kw chargers (there's a lot more than rapid chargers) but I've not had that happen yet. Pod Point appears to be one of the best in that respect.

Apps I have are the following:
- Charge Your Car
- Chargepoint (Instavolt)
- Electric Highway (Ecotricity) just in case it improves
- Polar Instant
- Pod-Point
- ESB EV Plug in (not used this network but nearly did on one occasion so have it just in case)
- Smoov (Shell)

For mapping charge points in the UK I use Zapmap (although I also have Plugshare as back up) and for the EU I use Chargemap as I've been monitoring charger points abroad too for future planning.

Hope that helps and happy to answer any other questions!
 

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Zapmap website has a list of public charging networks and their rates etc. Personally I would check out some long routes you do on Zapmap and see whos chargers are on the routes. You will likely find that a few apps and your contactless card will do. As you complete a few teips you will quickly realise you only twnd to use 2 or 3 providers. Worth registering a card on the apps you may need before you need to use any on a trip. Always have a plan b and c and try to use sites with 2 rapids installed in case one is broken/being used etc. My personal favourite company is Instavolt, you can go pretty much anywhere just using their rapids these days and they are contactless payment and reliable.
 

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Apps I have are the following:
One app that was only available on iPhone has just become available on Android. I rate it very highly and would add it to your list: WattsUp.

Would also add:
Plugshare
ABetterRoutePlanner.
 

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BMW i3 60ah BEV / BMW i3 60ah REx (Sold)
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One app that was only available on iPhone has just become available on Android. I rate it very highly and would add it to your list: WattsUp.

Would also add:
Plugshare
ABetterRoutePlanner.
Yes I've got Plugshare as a back up and just recently added ABetterRoutePlanner.

I downloaded WattsUp yesterday and did a little summary on this: Very useful App for those longer trips thread. A good app but hasn't quite got enough features for me as yet - I look forward to future updates!
 

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Not a table, but Zap Map has a good summary of the different networks.

I'm just starting out too, so I've been doing my research. Would be interested in what you find out, and what others suggest, but from what I've garnered so far (and this is just research, not experience):

Ecotricity and Charge Your Car are older networks and can be flakey, so look for other networks first

Instavolt is quick, painless and brilliant. Needs nothing more than your debit card, and is rapidly growing

Pod Point has good supermarket coverage, mix of rapid and fast, lets current flow as soon as you plug in, and you have 15 min to mess with the app.

You can do most things via apps, but having an RFID card guards against flat (phone) battery/ no signal/ endless username & password problems.

If you register with Shell Recharge you can get a free RFID card. This card can also be used in some (most?) other networks by registering it with them, so you only need one RFID card.
 

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I'm with most of the advice here, but once I'd gone with Polar Plus, on a longer trip I try to use Polar so make the subscription and reduced unit costs. InstaVolt is my second Rapid DC favourite after Polar. Ecotricity is my last resort - esp as I have CCS and they seem even more unreliable with CCS.

I just would love ZapMap, PlugShare, WattsUp, etc. to be CarPlay/Android Auto apps, or even that Waze adds in charging points. It would make navigation via charging points much easier.
 

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I'm with most of the advice here, but once I'd gone with Polar Plus, on a longer trip I try to use Polar so make the subscription and reduced unit costs. InstaVolt is my second Rapid DC favourite after Polar. Ecotricity is my last resort - esp as I have CCS and they seem even more unreliable with CCS.

I just would love ZapMap, PlugShare, WattsUp, etc. to be CarPlay/Android Auto apps, or even that Waze adds in charging points. It would make navigation via charging points much easier.
ZapMap can now be queried from Google Assistant / Android Auto by saying something like "OK Google, Ask zapmap where the nearest charger is"
 

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ZapMap can now be queried from Google Assistant / Android Auto by saying something like "OK Google, Ask zapmap where the nearest charger is"
Thanks for that, I will give that a go.
 
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