Pod Point is one of the most familiar EV (Electric Vehicle) chargers in the UK, and this is not surprising as they have been in operation since 2009. Erik Fairbairn founded Pod Points just after the financial crisis of 2008 as he saw a gap in the market and the vision of the future for electric cars. As of today, Pod Point has sold more than 137,000 home charger point units, with this number continuing to grow at a rapid pace.
Pod Point has built a reputable brand and has become installers for leading automotive manufacturers such as Audi, Nissan, Volkswagen, and Hyundai. Commercial brands, including Skanska, Mitie and PepsiCo, have also adopted Pod Point for their EV charging needs.
The latest endeavour is teaming up with property developers and management services, including Barratt Homes, Savills, and Bellway, to ensure all the latest smart home requirements are met with new builds, which now require EV chargers to be installed as standard.
Pod Point has also provided more than 6,200 public charging points found in all corners of the UK. Top brands such as Tesco, Lidl and Center Parks have partnered with Pod Point and have established charging bays within their carparks.
Pod Point claims that they have “593 million miles* of electric driving” under their belts; it is hard to argue as they have a well-established network. Throughout this blog, we will explore Pod Point in much further detail.
Pod Point Home Electrical Chargers
Pod Point offer a 3.6kW, 7kW or 22kW power rating for home charging. However, the 22kW unit does require a 3-phase household electrical supply which is not all that common for the UK home. Most UK homes will have a single-phase electrical supply that comfortably supports the 3.6kW and 7kW units.
All chargers come with a 3-year manufacturer warranty with the option to extend to 5 years. Pod Point’s home chargers include the Solo range, accessible with the Pod Point App. The app allows for active monitoring, scheduling, and consumption reporting, so you will always know the cost of the performance of your unit.
Solo and Solo 3 Chargers
The EVC (Electrical Vehicle Charger) development is rapidly improving. From the Solo original to the latest model, the Solo 3, there have been vast improvements in its capability. The Solo 3 is also fully compliant with the newest EV regulations, which came into force on the 30th of June 2022. The regulation states that all electric car chargers must be smart to ensure they can schedule off-peak charging.
The Solo 3 unit has some convenient features that tell you an electric car’s current charging state. There are light indicators which will show you the progress of a charge. These features are accessible in the app, so there is no reason to venture out into the rain to check the progress of your charge.
- Solid Green – the vehicle is charging
- Flashing Green – can either mean the battery is full or waiting for a scheduled charge
- Solid Blue – the charger is in standby mode
- Flashing Blue/Pink – your charger is communicating with Pod Point
- Flashing Yellow – the charger is locked
- Flashing or Solid Red – your charger is poorly and needs attention.
The Solo 3 is a very robust and well-manufactured unit. Customers very much love it, with very few issues being reported and is frequently recommended to any electric car owner overall.
Pod Point Commercial EV Charging
With all EV chargers come many opportunities from large businesses and small businesses. Using the ” whitepaper ” service, any business owner can download and assess opportunities to install and host a charger on the premises. Having options like this is beneficial to everyone, especially the EV driver. With more and more charge points becoming available, the worry of range anxiety reduces significantly, as soon there will likely be more charging points than traditional fuel stations.
Brands that use pod point are extensive, with some significant household names. Here are a few that currently use Pod Point Charging:
- Warner Bros
Pod Point Public EV Chargers with Volkswagen and Tesco
These three powerhouses are on course to deliver the UK’s largest EV charging network. What is lifting this partnership is that they will offer free top-ups available to all electric vehicles.
Volkswagen and Tesco have planned to make charging EVs while out and about as easy as possible. With 500 charge points already installed in Tesco Extra carparks, there are sure to be more installs on the way. These 500 charger points are broken down into 400 free-to-use 7kW units and 100 22kW and 50kW rapid flow chargers. The 22kW charger’s units are free of charge, with the 50kW rapid chargers available at varied chargeable market rates. Pod Point provides all chargers, and all use renewable green energy.
Pod Point Public EV Chargers with Lidl
Lidl has also adopted Pod Point chargers to their stores, with approximately 240 already functional in-store carparks. Lidl claims they have “more than 11.3 million EV miles*” powered by the chargers at their stores. This data was recorded in December 2020. Therefore, at the time of this blog, that number could easily be doubled, if not more. Lidl targeted 250 rapid chargers to be installed in their stores by 2022. There are 100 rapid chargers currently up and running, and they plan to have 300 in operation by the end of 2022.
Lidl also has 22kW and 50Kw rapid chargers in their stores, but these come with a price tag of 28p per kWh, which is at the higher end of the price market, but the convenience of it may out way that initial cost.
Pod Point Workplace EV Charging
Workplace charging is another aspect of the Pod Point Network. There are opportunities for any workplace owner to install charge points at work. With the use of the app, it is possible to view and monitor the energy usage and the charge by each employee. What you charge is up to you and is not enforced by Pod Point. Whether a fee or free, the benefits will be visible.
Pod Point offer four options for charging:
- Solo 3 22kW
- Twin Charger 22kW
- Velocity Charger (up to 50kw)
- Velocity+ Charger (up to 350kW)
These chargers offer business features, including dual authentication and RFID cards that can be left in the electric car so it is never forgotten and can also be accessed through the app. The solo 3 is the most popular charger for workplaces, followed by the twin chargers. Likely due to the cost of the unit and its reliability. Research suggests that charging at 50kW and higher often can reduce the battery charge capacity, which is not the best option if you plan to charge at work up to 5 times a week.
Pod Point highlights the benefit to businesses by suggesting staff members will be more productive and happier as travel costs are reduced, and they are travelling to work more sustainably. They even suggest this can boost staff retention.
The Pod Point App
Pod Point describe its app as a digital “Swiss army knife” with an all-in-one network for home, work, and public charging. The app’s main features are helping you to find, use, and in some instances paying for a charge. You also get full access to charging activity throughout the network. In addition to that, you’ll get direct customer support, so if your car can’t connect, you can.
With over-the-air updates, you will constantly have the latest updates ensuring safe transactions, and the latest features added.
Getting the Pod Point App
The app is available for both Apple and Android users. There are currently over 35,000 electric car drivers using Pod Point. You will have to create a Pod Point account to use it. This is a painless process as only your name, email address, and password are required. If you are not fully happy to do so, there is a guest account, you can use with a feature called charge-on-the-go. When setting up an account, they wish for you to use the same email address when you purchase Solo from Pod Point.
Adding your EV and payment details
Once your account is created, you will be asked to enter your vehicle’s manufacturer and model. This is to help improve the app’s accuracy. Some public chargers will require payment for the juice you use, so you can enter card details and top up funds to spend at typically public chargers. Multiple cards can be added to the account, so if you don’t fancy paying, charge it to a relative, be careful, though, as this could start a billing war. Accepted payments include Visa/Visa Debit, Mastercard, Apple Pay and American Express.
Pairing your Charger with the Pod Point App
Pairing your app to your charger is a must as this will be how you can monitor, access, and schedule your home charges. To do that is also very straightforward, go onto your account, click add a home charger and add your Solo’s PSL number, which is found on the underside of a Pod Point unit. You will shortly receive an email from Pod Point; once you click the link, verify and away you go.
Once you first pair the charger with Wi-Fi, it will automatically apply a Mon-Fri 12am-7am schedule. This is to do with new legislation that has come into law for all, electric car chargers to have smart charging for off-peak hours. Do not worry, as this can be changed in the app.
Adding your electricity tariff
This app feature allows you to add electricity tariffs to view the cost of charging live. Doing so is relatively straightforward, and you must add your energy supplier and your day rate. Day rates are found on any smart meter, but if you do not have one, most suppliers add this to your energy bill or personal account. Your energy bill or account is the most accurate way to find this information. Once set up, it will provide the night tariff option, and clicking yes will start your economy seven-day tariff.
Once you are all set up on the app, you can access The Charge Scheduling feature. Currently, it is only compatible with dual-rate tariffs and is not agile or dynamic for tariff pricing. Navigating the charge schedule is accessed from the “at home” icon. Once tapped, you will see “Manage schedule” at the bottom of your device; within this, you can manually set your charging demands. If you are unsure about your car’s typical range/cost, Pod Point has a vehicle battery guide to help. Once you set a start and end time, you can save this as a regular schedule, much like your beloved morning work alarm. All active schedules will be represented in green. To turn it off, tap it, and it will turn grey, indicating it has been deactivated. Once done, hit save changes, and the job is good.
Finding a Public Charging location
You will find the in-app map for public chargers in three different ways. This first way is using the “nearby” button, which will only work if you allow access to your location. The second is to enter the charger’s name or address, this is helpful when asking the EV community for advice on where to charge. Finally, you can scroll through the Charge Map and select the nearby charging icon. You can save all the good places to charge for the next time you are out and about. There will be two different icons that will appear on the map. One will be a black pin and a charging lightning bolt signal to highlight known basic charging locations, while the other icon will display a black pin with a Z known as EV zones.
EV Zones are designated charging areas; they will have more available points than most other locations with minimum disruption. These are areas that wish to become designated charging stations for returning customers. They can save money using array charging, which uses a higher number of active charge points on the same supply, possibly distributing electricity evenly and reducing the cost of an individual charge.
The charge map is an excellent feature as each location has its information page highlighting critical details about the site. All chargers have unique names, making them quickly searched for within the app. All chargers nearby the desired charge will be highlighted underneath. They will be represented in green or orange, while green means they are available, and orange means no spaces or a waiting time. Most Pod Point chargers have two sockets per charger, doubling the available chargers per one charging unit.
The charge map offers both AC/DC charging networks. Pricing will differ per location. Checking these before your journey is always an excellent way to ensure you are prepared. There could be a cheaper option a mile down the road, you never know. A key factor to consider when using Pod Point charging is that they have no control over parking restrictions or additional fees the charging location may enforce. Research and planning are essential to efficient travel.
To check the prices of particular locations within the app, you need to click on the desired charger, and then a new page will open with a list of live pricing details. Charging is typically charged in kWh or often at a fixed price. This will all be decided and enforced at the owner’s discretion. Ultimately, Pod Point does not control the prices, much the same as a standard fueling station, and overstay costs can occur, so beware when planning your charging stops.
To see which ChargePoint is available, every ChargePoint will have a unique name made up of two four-letter words, separated with a hyphen. An example of this will be “Warm-Zilla”. To ensure that chargers are readily available, you must select and confirm your specified charger within 15 minutes; otherwise charging will stop. To prevent this, tap “confirm charge” once your EV is plugged in.
Viewing your charging activity
The fun does not stop there. You will have access to all your charge stats simply by clicking the “stats” icon at the bottom of the app. This lets you view your latest charges individually, weekly, monthly, and annually, just by toggling between them. All this data will clearly show how much you have charged your electric car and how much it cost you. This function will provide a complete overview of all your charging history.
Charge Activity Reports
For those interested in facts and stats, you can access your charge activity report, including all your charging history. This can help with expenses reports, budgeting, and fee management. This report will be perfect for businesses to evaluate the cost of driving for their business, in a few simple steps. Tap the stats icon, select statistics, choose a period, and enter the mileage during that period and an emailed report will be processed for a clear view of transactions.
This function is not only beneficial for business purposes but also for personal and commuting by highlighting the cost and charge times you have incurred for selected periods of time.
The Pod Point Ecosystem
Pod Point has developed an ecosystem that visually displays network charging trends. Pod Point divide charging patterns into percentages. Home charging is 60%, work is 30%, and public charging is 10%. This may seem a bit obvious, but this pattern may reverse to charging 60% at work and 30% at home, with more businesses absorbing the cost for their employees. Ecosystems such as these are constantly evolving, and it will be interesting to see if these figures remain the same in the coming years.
Some interesting statistics provided by Pod Point state over 30,000 EV owners schedule charging at home every week. Arguably the most interesting stat is that an EV is hooked up to Pod Point every 39 seconds.
Pod Point clearly have the eye on the road when it comes to efficiency. The network is currently like no other with full access to all parts of the charging process and cost. It is difficult to see them failing to improve on their existing models and will only provide greater reliability for thousands of EV owners.