UK public charger network, where do you charge?

Recently I read about Ionity EU’s high power charging network which is popping up around the UK. These chargers can provide up to 350 KW which is even more impressive than the Tesla V3 250kW Superchargers.

As a soon to be EV owner, who will mostly charge at home, I’m interested to know what are some of the well priced and faster chargers besides Tesla Superchargers, that Bulb Members would recommend? Not all of the journeys I travel have a SC, but there are a number of other public chargers which I could use.

Would anyone recommend a specific charger network’s monthly plan or is it just best to pay-as-you-go?

With regards to Ionity, they caught my eye with their up-to 350 KW charging, however, then I noticed that any charge of any duration at an Ionity station costs £8. However, this is changing from the 31 January 2020. From then on Ionity will charge a crazy 0.69p/kWh, which fast approaches or in some cases surpasses ICE fuel costs. Compared to the 0.24p/kWh of a Supercharger, and 0.30p/kWh at some of the Canterbury InCharger charges (the ones in paid parking are free/kWh).

Robert Llewellyn spoke about this on the latest Fully Charged Video:

Is this the direction that public super fast charges are going? Or do you think Ionity have priced their charges out of general use. Ionity do charge lower p/kWh for certain EV vehicles which have a 1 year charging plan, but after the first year they will pay the same figure as everyone else.

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I used to stick to Electric Highway (Ecotricity) at the motorway service stations. Lots of bad rep and broken chargers, but to be fair I’ve never had them leave me stranded. They used to charge 30p/kWh but recently went up to 39p/kWh. You need CCS, and while some EH have been upgraded there’s typically only 1 CCS unit at any EH site. I doubt you’ll ever use EH because of course at many MSAs there’s a super charger.

These days I’ve been using InstaVolt, and while they still typically have only 2 chargers per site they are very reliable and much more user friendly than the dodgy old EH units. All have CCS and Chademo. Plug in, boop your contactless card and away it goes. No apps. No fuss. I’m usually plugged in and charging within 10 seconds of pulling into the bay. The basic chargers are usually good for the full 50kW too, unlike EH where their 50kW are typically maxed at 42kW (106A * 400V). The new InstaVolt chargers give the full 125A. Cost is 35p/kWh so cheaper than EH now they’ve put their prices up, and much more convenient to use.

I very much dislike Polar. I refuse to pay their subscription since, as you say, I mostly charge at home and only need rapids on longer trips. Their Polar Instant app used to be completely broken and unreliable, which a cynical person might say was to encourage people to pay for Polar Plus. Since they were bought out by BP, it looks like someone got their ass kicked and the Instant app has been completely refreshed. It does look like it works now, in that it starts up and actually shows chargers, but I’ve still never tried it. Polar also have 3 levels of cost, cheapest for the subscription with Plus, more expensive for Instant, and most expensive for contactless. I just can’t be doing with the company, which is unfortunate since for some reason they are the most prevalent. Tom Callow (@au_tom_otive) on Twitter has been hinting for the last couple of months that the EH monopoly at MSAs is finally coming to an end, and they’ll be getting their first MSA chargers installed on the M6, and it’s likely to be a proper hub as well not just 2x units. So I guess I might have to hold my nose and give them a try.

That’s about all I’ve used. I’ve used one Geniepoint charger, since they seem popular around Cornwall. Annoying because not only do they need an app, but you have to top up a balance rather than just being billed per charge as with EH or IV. It was rather expensive, but it did work ok once I’d figured out the user error.

Oh I’ve used one Pod Point rapid as well. That was brilliant, despite also having to top up an account. I think Pod Point have by far the best app. Works with my home EVSA as well to log how much energy goes into the car.

In terms of the direction things are heading, I don’t think we’ve got long before we have to start paying fuel duty on rapid charge sessions. Especially with 10 years of this backward looking isolationist government to enjoy.

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Thanks @Hooloovoo, great information as always!

I agree with your sentiments regarding Polar’s subscription which seems expensive imo. Don’t need to charge on a public charger daily, but maybe for others it would be better. Unfortunately, I don’t think we have many InstaVolts around but will take another look.

I will also say to anyone who ever visits Canterbury and is looking for a charger or somewhere to park and charge, head to any of the three main city car parks, which have 2 EV charging bays each, provided by InCharge, and provide 22kW. You will only pay the hourly car park charge at these parking lots and the charging itself is free, which is rather nice.

I hope we don’t get to this point too soon, but as you say with this government I would not be surprised if they start taxing EV ownership in any way they possibly can. When they really should be doing the most too attract new EV owners.

The area we live, we are fortunate to have off-road parking adjacent to our house and therefore can get an EV home charger. Many of our neighbours allocated parking is further in one of the estates car parks and there are no ways of charging. Currently trying to convince the council to address this by installing at least one public charger for our neighbourhood. Though the process is proving difficult to say the least.

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Try Ionity’s 69p/kWh rate! (I think I’ll be avoiding Ionity chargers)

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