Public electric car charging point Adam Ahrens March 17, 2023

Public electric car charging point

EV public charging point

You may have noticed an increased number of charging points popping up in supermarkets, libraries, hotels, restaurants, car parks and even at the workplace. With more people turning to EVs (electric vehicles) the demand for public charging is also increasing. This blog will highlight the brands you may see while out and about and where you will likely find them.

For these reasons, we as a nation have become increasingly sceptical of the ‘warranty’. But what if there was such a thing that guarantees any issues get fixed? Yes, you’ve guessed it, a manufacturer’s guarantee. But what is the difference?

Tesla

Tesla currently offers over 30,000 supercharger points globally, more than any other brand. However, this may not be the case for long as other brands are catching up. The supercharger point offers a fast-charging option, with the ability to add 172 miles with a 15-minute charge. This charging speed will take the frustration of waiting ages for your car to charge. Instead, it will be ready as soon as you have popped to the loo, grabbed a coffee or a scrummy snack.

The app can be handy for tesla users as it will indicate and suggest charging points along the way without the stress of trying to plan a specific route. Another benefit to this charging point is the price you will have to pay. While you see the petrol pumps hitting extortionate prices, you will be charging at a minimal price typically, around 28p per kWh. You can find Tesla at Moto, Welcome Break and various service stations and public car parks. A worthy note is that until recently, the tesla charging points were only available to tesla users, but this is no longer the case and is now open to all vehicles.

Pod Point

Pod Point is a clear favourite with drivers as it has been voted most used by the public. With the app, there is no need for bank cards or RFIDs, it is just plug and play, with all the transactions going through the app. Wherever a payment is required, you will be charged at kWh (kilowatt-hour). Currently, at a rapid charge, the cost will be, on average, 26p per kWh. This charge amounts to roughly £6 for a 30 min charge. Typically, this charger will give approximately 100 miles of range.

The pod point charger is also universally available to every EV with both AC and DC charging options, made up of 3.6kW-22kW chargers. A growing number of 43kW-50kW velocity chargers are also being installed around the country for an even more rapid charge. 

At present, there are a vast number of places where Pod Point can be found and for drivers to recharge. 

Supermarkets: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, Aldi

Shopping: Bluewater, The Bull Ring, Lakeside

Entertainment: Chester Zoo, National Theatre, Warner Bros. Studio

Hotels: Hilton, Travel Lodge, Holiday Inn

Restaurants: McDonald’s, Fuller’s Pubs

EV charging stations

InstaVolt

InstaVolt is a small DC charging point within the UK with approximately 1000 chargers available with a target of 10k by 2030. The charging unit itself is very reliable. However, many users find the app and support a bit lacking. It is hopeful as a growing brand these issues will likely be ironed out issues as they grow. These units are also not the fastest for charging and not the cheapest at approximately 57p per kWh, although you only get charged for what you used with no sign-in fee. However, it offers three-step rapid charging to do the job with little fuss. If you have a fleet of vehicles within a business, tracking drivers and their spending with individual RFID cards for data management is possible.

InstaVolt can be found scattered across the UK. You may spot one in a local car park or at your local McDonald’s.

Osprey

Osprey is another smaller charging network; however, it is the first to feature Zap-Pay, Zap-Map’s latest app payment option. Osprey dedicates itself to offering fast and rapid charging. The cost to charge is a flat rate of 49p per kWh, with cheaper options just by downloading the app. There is currently no monthly subscription to charge via the Osprey app, but your charging fees will be billed monthly via automatic payment. An issue with some drivers is that fees are not always automatically taken at the point of charge. It is not the best if you have a rubbish memory; it could catch you out.

By and large, at approximately 49p per kWh, the osprey charging points are reasonable. Osprey is not settled to be one in the crowd, and within 2022 – 2023 they plan to install the first of many 6-8 charger hubs. These will charge from 75kW to 175kW, perfect for fleet vehicles.

Osprey can be found at Cube Infrastructure, M seven Real Estate, the city of Cardiff, Marston’s, and allstar business solutions, to name a few.

Shell Recharge

When you hear Shell, you automatically think of a big company, which is not the case currently when it comes to EV charging. If you think about it, EV charging may not be the priority for an oil company. There are only roughly 200 charging stations within the UK. They offer DC Rapid for Type 2, CHAdeMO, and CCS vehicles.

As such a large company, they have the means to catch up if they wish to quickly. Financing may not be the issue, as is evident in the quality of their units, as they have gone for quality charging points. They offer 50kWh DC rapid charging, with half ‘ultra-rapid’ at 150kW DC charging capabilities. You often think of a high price tag with quality, and you would not be wrong with a price averaging 55p per kWh for fast charging with rapid charging up to 60p per kWh. They justify this cost by stating that they are proud to supply the electricity from 100% renewable sources. There are also options for cheaper rates via their app if you are savvy enough to find and use them, but if you don’t have the app, the points are also contactless.

It may not be surprising, but these charging points are located at shell garages across the UK.

Newmotion

Newmotion is part of the Shell group but focuses on businesses, vehicle manufacturers and other partnered companies. Offering some to take advantage of a workplace charging scheme, allowing for free or lower priced charging options. More of the scale you would expect from Shell, there are approximately 7,000 in the UK and over 200,000 across 35 different countries.

There is a frustration when it comes to Newmotion as the prices of charging vary from place to place. Newmotion suggests you should view their website before planning a charging point to ensure you do not get a nasty surprise. Current price tariffs can be found here.

With the cost varying, only an approximate figure can be given to highlight the charging cost. For a  50kW rapid charge in some stations, it can cost as little as 26p per kWh, while other stations across the country could offer a much slower 7.4kWh charger at 40p per kWh.

Newmotion chargers can be found all over the UK and are listed on the Zap-Map app.

image of public chargers

BP Pulse (aka Polar)

Polar is one of the most recognisable charging points spotted across the UK. It has recently been snapped up by BP and now operates under the name BP Pulse. BP also snapped up Chargemaster to generate one of the most extensive charging networks. The acquisition happened in December 2020, and although there is a new name for many points, BP Pulse has been dabbling in EV charging for well over ten years.

With approximately 9,000 public charging points within the UK, it is one of the largest. There are several ways to pay for your charge, including the usual PAYG (pay as you go) and subscriptions. Subscriptions are, as usual, the best way in which you can save money over a year with offers and promotions. There are options for fleet charging that will allow for cheaper rates and additional savings on charges through rewards.

With the use of in-house experts, they can be contacted 24/7 and offer help regarding all charging questions and account management. In addition to public chargers, they offer the Homecharge scheme provided by OZEV (Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles), allowing for cheaper EV home solutions. OZEV officially stopped on 31st March 2022. However, some companies are still offering the scheme or equivalent.

So how much does it cost? For a monthly subscription fee of £7.85 (incl. VAT), you will be entitled to free charging on selected BP Pulse points and be provided with an access card. When you sign up for the first time, you will get the first three months for free.

If you do not have a subscription, you can access the charging points for approximately 43p per kWh, but you will need to download the app and then top it up with £5 to start charging your vehicle.

A contactless option is available if you do not want or have the app. However, brace yourself as it will cost you. Tariffs start at 45p per kWh, and there will also be a pre-authorisation charge of £15 or £30 on 50kW or 150kW chargers. Simply put, downloading the app is the way in which you will receive the most benefits. What a shocker.

So, what does this tell us about public EV charging?

EV charging is undoubtedly on the increase of availability nationwide. There is little doubt you would not have seen a new EV charging point installed in a supermarket or car park you have recently visited. With the increased demand plenty of companies are looking to cash in on the need for electro juices. This feature offers a little bit of comfort for drivers, which means plenty of competition leads to a competitive price war. There is, however, the minor issue of energy costs plaguing the nation currently, which will increase the cost of many charging points, but this will still be drastically cheaper than the cost of fuel.

For the most part, all the public chargers do the same thing, just slightly differently and at a different speed. You must plan your route to find the type of charger you need, whether brand, speed, or availability. Doing so will highlight the best prices for available charging speeds.

EV charging is growing fast; however, it isn’t risk-proof, and range anxiety is still at the forefront of drivers’ minds. We are still not at the point where we can get up and go, and planning is still required to ensure we get from A to B with charge in the batteries. Using one of the million apps out there, they should aid you in finding a suitable charging station and alternatives if required. The future of EV charging is looking very bright and soon they will be dominating the forecourts throughout the country. Maybe even eliminating fuel stations entirely.