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.