Free electric vehicle (EV) public charging points - tips and recommendations


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Go for the highest spec you can if you need the range. I have a 2019 Nissan Leaf 40kw Tekna which is brilliant for me as I'm a volunteer driver and usually just potter around locally so 160 miles is fine and I only need to charge it (at home) once a week. I just visited my sister in the New Forest at the weekend and charged at Winchester Services through Ecoserve and it was free. 😀

Haven't heard of ecoserve before, are they new @Gingernut49? I'm heading down to Southampton and so would be good to charge on the way back if it's a fast charger?


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All the instructions are on the screen and it's very easy. When I did have to pay I just had to tap my card on it like any contactless payment. My only negative is that another car was charging on the CCS half of the machine and I couldn't use the Chademo until he'd finished. There were five CCS 'halves' but only one Chademo for my Leaf.

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Sorry, my mistake: Gridserve. They've taken over Ecotricity I believe. I charged at Winchester Moto Services in both directions and it was free and they had both Chademo and CCS. I topped up at Cobham and it was only £2.35.

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Sorry, my mistake: Gridserve. They've taken over Ecotricity I believe. I charged at Winchester Moto Services in both directions and it was free and they had both Chademo and CCS. I topped up at Cobham and it was only £2.35.

Thanks, did you need an app or anything or was it just a case of plugging in and that was it?

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So nice to see some great community knowledge sharing, @Gingernut49 . Am guessing now everyone is gearing up for longer journeys with the staycation summer in full swing, it’s great to be able to know the best points to stop en-route. :sunny:

 

Sounds like the ease of use or reliability of the charging points can also be an issue, @tesla_model_3.

 

That being said has anyone else found a great charging points (free or fast charging) on their EV travels? @Jequinlan, @sylm_2000, @MrPuds, @PeterR1947, @juliamc, @ArundaleP, @jp1, @Transparent, @RobL  :red_car:

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There is a free one in WWF building in woking (8 of them!) and they are brilliant.

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Haven't seen any rapid chargers free yet but Lidl and Tesco have free 7kw ones near me when shopping. They are sometimes iced though which is annoying.

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I have been driving EV long enough to remember free ecotricity superchargers chargers on the motorways service stations, short lived perks!

bp pulse (used to be chargemaster) offers three month free subscription with DD payment. I have used that to charge at local supermarkets which @tesla_model_3 confirms is ICE’ed most of the time.

The EV charging network has come a long way and at the same time it is becoming commercially viable with increased number of EV drivers. 

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Well, they might not be the fastest chargers around, but I’m told Pod Point are really good and they’ve got a pretty big network (most of which is free to use).

I think you can even get 15 minutes of free charging per session without authenticating too, in case you just need an emergency top-up or you can’t get the charger to validate your session via their app for some reason. If you confirm within that 15 minute period, the charger will continue to run until either the battery is full or you manually end the session. Otherwise, it shuts off after the 15 minutes expire but you can always restart and validate the session to keep it going properly. You can also use either the app or their website to confirm a charging session as well.

Oh, just make sure to bring your own cable with you by the way! Most Pod Point chargers are the untethered type which don’t have any fixed cables attached. But that’s probably a good thing, since it makes them more flexible as they’re mostly Type 1 or Type 2 connectors (ideal for maximum compatibility).

If you drive a Tesla, then you’ve also got the Tesla Superchargers and Tesla Destination Chargers on your list of options as well.

I’ve never used any EV Chargers myself because I don’t drive, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

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Thanks for all your great recommendations, EV team!

 

And I’ve learnt some new EV lingo - is being ICE’d a common issue?

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Well Jess, from my understanding the answer is sadly… Yes… And I don’t even drive or use a car at all myself!

Part of the problem is that while you can do “regular” parking just about anywhere that there’s a valid (and legal!!!) parking space, you can only charge an EV if you’re able to park close enough to a charger to actually reach it with the cables that you’ve either got with you (which I think just about every EV driver keeps in their car all the time), or that are tethered to the charger. ICE cars are only tethered for a few minutes at a time at petrol stations, so there really is no need for them to be blocking up EV Charger spaces - especially when there’s people who need those spaces more than an ICE does..

But since EV Chargers are often placed in some of the most desirable parking spaces in many car parks (almost as desirable as the disabled spaces) and tend to be a bit wider than a regular one to help with things like leaving extra space for cables to be handled (and not accidentally ripped out!)… They’re very tempting for ICE drivers who are too lazy to walk the extra distance.

It’s been a nightmare for years with disabled spaces being blocked up by drivers who aren’t entitled to use them - and EV Charging Spaces are just another victim to the same selfish behaviours unfortunately.

Fortunately, the vast majority of EV Drivers do play fair with the limited charging spots. From my understanding, there’s an unwritten rule saying that it’s courteous to unplug your EV and move it out of the charging area once you’re done charging, so that someone else can use it without too much waiting. The level of compliance with that is extremely good overall, or so I’m told. However, Tesla has a bit of an ingenious solution to this one as well.

The exact rules vary depending on the country, but Tesla reserves the right to charge you an “overstay fee” if you leave your Tesla plugged in at a Supercharger after it’s finished charging and is charged on a per minute basis (you usually get a five minute grace period though). If you unplug before the grace period runs out, you don’t incur the fee, but otherwise it continues to clock up charges until you unplug. This only generally applies if that Supercharger location is at least half full at the time of your charge (because this is roughly the point when you have to start sharing the available capacity), but it’s a clever way to encourage people to free up the Superchargers once they’re done. It only applies at the Tesla Superchargers of course. If you use a Tesla Destination Charger, some other charger or a home charger, the overstay rule won’t be triggered no matter how long you charge for. And in any case, it does not trigger unless you leave your Tesla plugged in after it has stopped charging - so if you unplug before you’re full, you won’t get the overstay fee.

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All the instructions are on the screen and it's very easy. When I did have to pay I just had to tap my card on it like any contactless payment. My only negative is that another car was charging on the CCS half of the machine and I couldn't use the Chademo until he'd finished. There were five CCS 'halves' but only one Chademo for my Leaf.

Tried it on the way south and unfortunately it kept coming up with an error saying not charging or similar. £20 pending transaction on my account showing the card was accepted and the machine said 30p/kWh on a sticker on it which isn't too bad but unfortunately it just didn't work.

There were only 2 machines I could see there and the other had a BMW i3 parked there unplugged probably having the same issue.

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