There are more than 45,000 chargepoint connectors across the UK with more being added every day. The network is made up of lots of different providers, some of which may require you to download an app or to register or subscribe to use their charge points, whereas others you can access using a contactless payment card.

If you don’t have off-street parking, or you’re not able to have a home chargepoint installed, Motability Scheme customers leasing their first pure electric vehicle, are given access to the BP Pulse Polar Network. This is a network of over 8,000 charge points run by BP Pulse that offers discounted or free charging at selected chargepoints across the UK.

Follow Motability Scheme specialist David from Nissan Liverpool as he takes the Nissan Leaf from Liverpool to Holyhead to dispel some of the myths surrounding range anxiety.

Planning your journey

To ensure your journey goes smoothly, you’ll need to plan ahead for unfamiliar or longer journeys. Don’t forget to allow extra time when planning your journey in case you need to wait for a charger to become available. And of course, if you have a home chargepoint fitted it’s always worth starting longer or unfamiliar journeys with a full charge.

There are lots of journey mapping tools that can help make journey planning easier, for example Zap-Map will help you plan your route, find chargers that are compatible with your connector and it will also let you know how long it will take you to charge. You can even filter by charge speed, network provider, connector type or free/paid chargers and it also uses feedback from users to update when chargepoints are out of service. You can download Zap-Map from the app store on your smartphone and you can also access it via your internet browser.

charging your electric car with accessible chargepoints suitable for disabled drivers

Charging costs

As the chargepoint network is made up of lots of different providers, access to chargepoints and the cost for doing so can vary quite a bit. You may be charged a connection fee and then for the kWh used. Some are based on a subscription, others you load up credit like a chargecard, while others you can simply use contactless payment.

Where the chargepoint is located can also impact the cost – for example motorway service stations are generally more expensive, but they also generally have more rapid chargers.

Finally, the speed of the charger can also affect the cost, with rapid chargers generally costing more. Fast chargers will top up a 40kWh battery in 2 hours whereas a rapid charger reduces this down to around 1 hour 15 minutes and an ultra-fast charger could take as little as 15 minutes. You need to make sure you choose the chargepoint that is appropriate for your electric vehicle as not all can take the ultra-rapid chargers.

Free charging!

Many supermarkets and shopping centres now offer free charging while you shop. These are often rapid chargers and can charge 80% of the battery within 20-30 minutes.

 

Scotland and Northern Ireland

 

Customers with an electric car in Scotland can register for a Charge Place Scotland account which provides access to the network of public chargepoints in Scotland, a large majority of which are free to use. You can access the network with the ChargePlace Scotland app (iOS and Android) or order a RFID access card from ChargePlace Scotland at a one-off fee of £10 per card.

ChargePlace Scotland recommend ordering an RFID card if you are likely to use charge points located in a remote area as this might impact your phone signal and ability to use the app.

At the moment there is limited chargepoint infrastructure installed in Northern Ireland and customers in Northern Ireland do not have access to the Polar network. So, while customers can still take advantage of having a home charger installed if it is their first Motability Scheme vehicle, we strongly recommend that you speak with your dealer and fully investigate the charging options available when out and about, before making the switch to an electric car.