The world of electric car charging schemes has become a bit of a minefield recently, particularly as they’ve almost all have started billing users. This short post is designed to limit the number of schemes you have to join, keeping it simple and inexpensive. It is worth remembering 90% of charging is actually done at home.
Here are my top 3 in the UK…
Charge Your Car
I’d recommend installing the Charge Your Car App. This is an umbrella app that covers most local schemes and you can access the charger and pay via the app, rather than having to sign up for all the individual companies. I use this app the most as it’s generally reliable and easy to navigate. Use the map to find your local chargers, then compare charging speeds and pricing. This one is free to join, then you pay for each charge at the specified price. I pay approx £4.50 per charge on average but some chargers are free to use, particularly the slow chargers.
You can also pay £20 per year for the RFID card which is a good back-up if you have poor telephone signal failure or system issues with the app. If you’re lucky this might be the only scheme you need – if so, definitely get the RFID card.
The Electric Highway covers most motorway service stations, which makes them slightly more costly (£6 per charge) but it’s a worthwhile scheme if you’re travelling a long distance in the UK. It’s also free to sign up, so definitely worth having. These are rapid (the fastest) chargers and Ecotricity have an improved and friendly technical team on hand to resolve faults.
My only gripe with them is that they’ve introduced a set fee of £6 for half an hour, which means that the drivers who used to charge for 10 minutes (just to get them to their next destination) now want to get their money’s worth and sit there for half an hour, creating queues.
Unfortunately, however, if you need to charge on the motorway this is your best option. If you can make it to the local town centre to charge then do that as an alternative to avoid the queues. Oh, and their customer service hours are 9 AM to 5 PM which is utterly unhelpful as most people charge before or after work.
Finally, I use my Source London card quite a bit but only sign up for this if you use it enough to justify the £4 monthly fee on top of the usage charges. Covering just London, sister sites cover other parts of the UK. These are reliable chargers, although if faulty they can take up to 1 month to fix. They do have a helpful 24-hour customer service team who can point you to the nearest alternative charger if there’s a problem.
What providers would you recommend to other EV drivers?