Find out about the UK Electric Car Charging Networks
Most EV uses will conduct most of the charging from the comfort of their own home. There is however a range of charging networks schemes available across the UK. We have compiled all the relevant information for you to allow you to understand how you will be to charge your electric or plug-in hybrid car at various points throughout the UK, using a range of slow, fast and rapid charging options.
Public charging networks have seen a rapid increase in the growth as the network coverage becomes more widely available and the variety of options such as costs and memberships are increased. There are two types of network, National Networks and Regional Networks, some of which also use the national networks.
The major National Charging Networks are as follows;
POLAR by Chargemaster PLC- Get PolarInstant
The Polar electric car charging network is owned by Chargemaster plc and consists of over 4000 charging points, and has one of the largest UK wide coverage.
Chargemaster plc is one of the U.K.’s largest designer and manufacturers of electric car charging points they provide EV charging units for domestic, business and public sector use. They provided installations on behalf of eco car manufacturers, supermarkets, councils and other businesses. They are based in Luton in the UK and they operate a charging network scheme run under the Polar umbrella
From 1st April 2014 charge Polar sites were made accessible by three different means;
Polar economy plus tariff swipe card
Available by signing up to a monthly subscription paid by direct debit at £12 per month, this includes 20 hours of 13 amp socket charging which are used at a rate of one charging credit per hour. Alternatively 13.3 hours of Type II socket charging at a rate of 1.5 charging credits per hour. Or 2×30 minute sessions of Triple-X rapid chargers which are used at a rate of 10 charging credits per half hour. A combination of the above can be used to total 20 charging credits per month. Charging rates apply if you go over this usage allowance at the following rates. 95p per hour for 13 amp socket charges, with part hours charged pro rata. £1.45 per hour for Type II socket charges, with part hours charged pro rata.£6 for 30 minutes for Triple-X rapid chargers for a minimum of 30 minutes, then charged pro rata after the.
Polar standard tariff swipe card
Available by signing up to an annual subscription starting from £20, and paid by direct debit. You can benefit from £1 per hour for 13 amp socket charges. £1.50 per hour for Type II socket chargers and £7 for 30 minutes of Triple-X rapid chargers.
The above options are obtainable by applying direct to Chargemaster plc or by telephoning 01582 400331. After applying you would be granted with RFID card that can be used at charging points across the UK.
The Polar instant smartphone app
This method was introduced from the 1st April 2014 and benefits from having no card requirements and no subscription requirement, being registered online. The tariffs are charged at £1.20 per hour for 13 amp charger. £1.70 per hour for a Type II charger and £7.50 per half hour for a rapid charge. All above rates are inclusive of VAT.
Charge Your Car (CYC) network- Join CYC
Charge Your Car is a rapidly growing national EV recharging network and operates a pay-as-you-go system, it has over 2000 free to use or pay as you go charging points across the UK. A charge your car swipe card gives you access to the full national network as well as the regional source West and GMEV networks.
They operate a simple pricing structure; you can register online and purchase a £20 CYC swipe card. Generally these cards are valid for one year and give you access to their 2000+ charging points. They also have a smartphone app with voice recognition systems, and also have some free to use points. They accept credit debit card payments over the phone or online.
Ecotricity (Electric Highway)- Apply now for Ecotricity
One of the world’s first green electric companies, offer their own charging network called the Ecotricity Electric Highway, they predominantly focus on rapid charging points that are free to use currently and have over 100 in the UK. Located along main commuter motorways and all IKEA stores in the UK. Their aim is to connect EV drivers across the UK. They have four other schemes associated with them including Source London, Source West, GMEV, Plugged in Midlands and all CYC points also allowed access to Ecotricity points. You can register online for free and you will receive an Electric Highway swipe card to access the free of charging points. It takes five minutes to sign up for their card online through their website and it usually takes between 2 to 3 days for your card to arrive. A charge network map is available here.
Pod Points- Get your Pod Point card
Pod Point are a pay-as-you-go network and one of the U.K.’s first networks, with over 1000 charging points spread over the UK. They use a number of different providers to offer a range of charging options. For only £12.50 you can register online to become a lifetime member. You will receive a Pod Points swipe card to access charging points for free. Pod Point has announced that they will be introducing a pay-as-you-go monthly option in 2015. The Pod Points card is available to purchase from their website by simply adding it to your basket and then checking out. Currently the card will allow you to charge for free at all Pod Points charging points on the network.
Zero the Network by Zero Carbon World- ZeroNet
Zero has an expanding national network of pay-as-you-go charging points, set up by the Zero Carbon World. Their charging points are often located at hotels, B&Bs, pubs and other similar facilities. They offer free charging points to the hotel and leisure industry. No membership, no cards are required as they encourage businesses not to charge customers to use any their points.
Tesla’s Supercharger Network- Tesla Network
Tesla’s started the rollout of the UK supercharging network in 2014 and aims for the full national coverage by the end of 2015. These supercharging points are designed for Tesla’s EV’s. With their high powered 120 kW units they can give a 50% charge to a model S (providing they have had the necessary upgrades) in as little as 15 to 20 minutes. The scheme is completely free for all Tesla owners.
In addition to the National Networks there are also a range of Regional Networks
Source London- Subscribe to Source London
Source London is a London-based charging network of around 500 EV charging points launched by Borris Johnson and now run by a French company. The network is free to access with the Source London swipe card, members can also use Ecotricity charge points, with this one swipe cards. Registration isavailable online and costs only £5, for the membership, until the 30th September 2015. After signing up you will receive your Source London swipe card to access the points free of charge.
Source East- Register for Source East
Source East is the East of England’s electric vehicle charging network, offering over 800 publicly available smarts charging points. This covers areas around Cambridge, Luton, Bedford, Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough, Hertfordshire and Thames Gateway, Essex, London and Stansted airport. It also allows members to use the Ecotricity charge points with the swipe cards. For a £10 annual membership you receive your Source East swipe card, which currently allows you free access to all the Source East charging points. In 2015 they will be switching to a pay-as-you-go scheme.
Source West- Get your card
The Source West charging network was founded by Bristol City Council, it covers areas from South West including Bristol City and North East Somerset. The swipe card allows access to the UK wide CYC network of over 2000 points, as well as the Ecotricity Electric Highway, the registration fees is £20 annually.
Energiser Network- Join the Energiser Network
The Energiser network is a regional network of charging points that consist of both public authority owned a privately owned charging points for everyone to use. They are rapidly growing in size and cover areas from the South East of England including Surrey, Sussex and Kent. This network is also in partnership with the Charge Your Car network and therefore members are given access to the 2000+ CYC points. You can register online for the free Energiser network card, registration is not necessary if you are already a CYC member. Charges are dependent on charging points that can be paid with credit card using the CYC app, they also offer a pay-as-you-go telephone numbers and you can use your credit card over the phone. Electric car charging point owners including businesses can register their charging point on the Energiser network, allowing people to visit and use their point and in return they will make money from it. The application is available at the following link.
Plugged in Midlands- Find out more
The Plugged in Midlands regional network offers around 150 charging points across the Midlands area including Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham and Corby. This scheme is also compatible with the larger plug-in point scheme being rolled out across the UK. Members can also use Ecotricity charge points with the swipe card. Online annual memberships cost around £24 and you receive swipe card to access points for free. This network is now being taken over by Chargmaster mentioned above.
Greater Manchester EV Scheme- Register for this network
The GMEV is a regional network of around 90 point and covers the Manchester area including Wigan, Rochdale and Stockport. The swipe cards also allow you to access the UK wide CYC scheme of over 2000 points and the Ecotricity Electric Highway network. Registration is £10 for an annual membership and you will receive your swipe cards. Some points are pay-as-you-go and you can use the CYC and pay by direct debit.
The e-car Northern Ireland- Find out more
The e-car network covers Northern Ireland and has 300 points ranging from both fast chargers and rapid charging points including a region of Northern Ireland and have a lot of points situated in Belfast, registration online is free and you receive your e-car swipe card.
Using electric car charging points beyond the UK
Travelling in an EV across Europe just got easier
Two of the UK’s largest network providers of publicly-accessible charging points have signed a new agreement that should, in theory, make it easier for users of electric vehicles in the UK to recharge their vehicles in Europe.
With more than 2,000 units, Charge Your Car is the largest EV charge point network. It has signed what it calls an ‘interoperability agreement’ with The New Motion, the leading charge-point provider in mainland Europe.
The agreement means that members of Charge Your Car will now be able to access more than 15,000 points located in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and Belgium. Conversely, The New Motion members travelling to the UK will be able to use any of the Charge Your Car network’s charge points. This development will enable Britain’s EV drivers to travel more kilometres in pure EV mode when they are travelling on the Continent.
In addition, the agreement also accelerates ‘open roaming interfaces’ between international charge-point networks. The longer-term aim is to maximise the ease with which drivers will be able to travel further afield with unfettered access to charging points.
Alexandra Prescott, Operations Director at Charge Your Car, told EcoCars4Sale: “This agreement is a logical step to enhance services for both The New Motion and CYC drivers. Continental roaming is easier, opening up new e-mobility opportunities across Europe for our drivers.”
Ritsaart van Montfrans, Founder of The New Motion, told us: “It is important for EV drivers to be able to take their car wherever they want, and through this agreement with Charge Your Car, we have added the UK to our expanding European infrastructure. This will open up new routes and new adventures for EV drivers on both sides of the Channel, in line with our mission to continue to facilitate and enable more electric kilometres to be driven by more EV drivers across Europe.”