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Charge cards

Discussion in 'The UK and Ireland' started by Rluner, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. Rluner

    Rluner Member

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    I'm due to take delivery of my Tesla in Dec.

    Please can anyone advise me which cards I require to charge in the UK, and then in Europe please?

    Ecotricty is the only one I know of yet.
     
  2. Thread Summary

    Thread Summary Member Generated Post Wiki

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    #2 Thread Summary, Sep 17, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2015
    Charge Card basics

    UK charge networks seem to be in a bit of a state of flux at the moment, as some are coming to the end of their grant money and having to reorganize or sell out; others are riding a new wave of government money and expanding, some just seem to be withering away.

    It is complicated by the fact that most of the networks don't actually own many (or any) chargepoints - they typically assisted the property owner with accessing grant funding to get the point installed, but it belongs to the property owner and the network just provides management services. Hence the same point often appears on several networks. There are often 'free' and chargeable-use points in the same network, since the owner of the point (who typically pays for the electricity) generally sets the pricing. Some points appear to be not available to the general public despite being nominally part of one of the networks. There is also a confusing set of 'roaming' agreements for one card to work on another network's points.

    Most points are online to some extent, but also have lists of acceptable card numbers stored in the post. This means:
    • Several networks now offer access via a mobile app as an alternative to getting a smartcard. This is good for obtaining instant access to a point on a network you haven't used before, but doesn't work if the post is offline, either due to a fault or because that post is never online (maybe due to no mobile phone reception in that location). Safer to have the card available for points you count on using.
    • The offline lists may not be updated very often. This means that a newly-issued card might not work at all points in the network immediately.

    A good resource for locating charge points is zap-map.com - click on one of the charge point markers and select the 'info' tab to see which network a particular point belongs to (and hence which charge card you need to access it).

    Unfortunately, although there are several 'national' networks, the history of the grant funding that built most of these networks means that the points are not evenly distributed - often a single company received grant funding for all the points in one area, so you will often find that if the most convenient point is on a network you don't like, then the next nearest one will be too!

    UK networks

    Here's a reasonably complete list of UK networks:

    National networks
    • Ecotricity. Primarily an electricity/gas supplier, who has decided to set up a national network of fast charging points mainly at motorway service areas. Access card is currently free to anybody and there are no usage charges; have indicated that it is likely to continue to be free for customers who buy their home gas/electricity from them. Convenient locations, fast charging and no fees makes this is the 'must join' network for all UK EV drivers.
    • Chargemaster / Polar. Very commercial. Has a tie-in with BMW. Announced their new pricing earlier this year (2014), which was widely considered to be very expensive. Card seems to be issued now only as part of their annual or monthly subscription plans - ad-hoc usage only via phone app. If using the app, you need to load on £20 of credit before you can access any chargepoints - even 'free' ones. Points seem to all be either 'free' or at their fixed tariff.
    • ChargeYourCar. Was originally a regional network; has now taken over some others and is providing back-office service to still more and so has become national. Card is £20 per year, can also access most (but not all) of their points via mobile app without paying for the card. Mobile app requires you to register a credit card, but unlike Chargemaster, nothing is billed to it if you just use 'free' points. Quite a range of different tariffs at their various locations (with a reasonable proportion 'free'). Can get cards with access to their network cheaper via other networks that use CYC as back-office: see below. Also offers automated telephone service to access charge points, with the same limitations as the app (needs credit card, doesn't work with 100% of points). Now has a european roaming agreement with The New Motion (Netherlands based, coverage in BE, NL, DE, AT).
    • Podpoint. Primarily a manufacturer of chargepoint equipment; also operates a network. A lot of 'their' points actually seem to belong to other networks (where pod-point is operating back-office), but there are some unique ones. Doesn't seem to have been very active lately, at least in terms of publicity. Card is £12.50, mobile app 'coming soon'.
    • Elektromotive. Not a network as such, but a chargepoint equipment operator who also provide back-office support for the equipment they supply, on behalf of other networks. Can be a source of difficulty as this puts an extra party in the middle between reporting faults to the network and getting them fixed.
    • ZeroCarbonWorld/Zeronet. Unique in many ways: a charity that donates charging equipment and then provides marketing. Their chargepoints don't require any cards or other mechanism to access - just plug in and go. This means that ZCW don't actually 'operate' a network as such, they simply facilitate installation of charging at various destinations (mainly hotels, restaurants etc.), with the points then being maintained by the locations. Generally free-of-charge for customers of the places where they are installed. ZCW encourage you to report faults etc. to the location and also on OpenChargeMap
    Regional networks
    • Source London. Originally an organ of Transport for London, in September '14 taken over by IER (Bolloré group, with experience of similar schemes in France). Transitional arrangements of £5 for card and free usage, but new tariffs were due to be announced at the end of the year (2014). Loads of points, but disappointingly many are just 13A sockets. In late 2014, it was announced that the transitional arrangements (free usage) were to continue until 30/9/15 - apparently in response to the large number of points in the network which are not working, and disputes over maintenance arrangements.
    • Source East. Card is £10. Such points as actually work are free to use as there's no billing mechanism; a number of points appear to be private-use or otherwise restricted. Organisation appears moribund - not many points (none high power), no growth and poor support. Back office provided by some combination of PodPoint and Elektromotive. Allegedly provides roaming onto Source London, but seems unlikely to continue with new SL management. SE website also claims to allow roaming to Plugged in Midlands, but PiM support claim this is no longer operating (16/10/2014).
    • Plugged in Midlands. Recently transitioned many sites to ChargeYourCar management. Card is £20+VAT (but sometimes special offers). Card offers roaming to some other networks (eg. Ecotricity). 16/10/2014: PiM support says that you still need a PiM card to access those points that are not managed by CYC, but you need a CYC card (or the CYC app) to use the PiM-branded points now managed by CYC - the PiM card won't work there.
    • GMEV Greater Manchester. Many free charge points in Greater Manchester. Operations now fully subsumed into CYC (they do not issue their own cards, just encourage you to join CYC), but branding remains. Application form for card linked in the middle of this page - takes you to the CYC site, but offers you the GMEV-branded CYC card cheaper than the generic one (GMEV site says £10, apparently CYC charge you their usual £20 and then refund £10 to honour the GMEV price)
    • Source West Covering Bristol/Bath/Gloucester. Operated entirely by CYC, but offers free CYC card to local residents (of those cities plus North Somerset/North-east Somerset/South Gloucestershire council areas) via sign-up form.
    • Energise. Appears to have got recent (2014) grant money to install a bunch of triple-standard (AC/CHAdeMO/CCS) fast chargers in the South East (being defined as Kent/Surrey/Sussex), and despite the consolidation going on among the other regional networks, has decided to launch a new regional network! However, back-office is by CYC (and card gives access to all CYC points), so this is effectively a cheap way of getting a CYC card. Card appears to be free at present? (some people report trouble obtaining the card). Some suggestion that they are working to enable access to non-CYC points in their area via their/CYC card (eg. their map claims they are doing this for Pod-point points at Brighton railway station).
    • Ecar Northern Ireland. Network of charge points across Northern Ireland. All of their points are 22kW or better - most are 22kW AC, plus some dual AC/CHAdeMO. Requires their own card - issued free via sign-up form. Their card also gives access to points in the Republic of Ireland operated by ESB E-car, again currently free but indicating that they intend to introduce payment systems.
    • Charge Point Genie. 11 locations in Hampshire and two others in southern England (as at March '15). Many locations far have CHAdeMO and high-power AC, others mostly have 22kW AC (requires dual chargers for Model S to take full advantage). Slightly secretive - can't see their map of locations until you've signed up! (but locations can be seen on zap-map). Appears to be a collaboration of electricity distributor SSE and charging equipment/back-office provider Charge Point Services. Fixed scale of charges - CHAdeMO/CCS/42kW AC, is £4 for the first 15 minutes, then 25p/minute; 22kW AC is £4 for the first 4 hours then 10p/minute; 7kW AC is £4 for the first 4 hours then 5p/minute. The 22kW points are good value if you stay for most of the 4 hour minimum, while charging a Model S on AC at one of the 42kW points is extremely expensive (especially with single charger). Registration is £20, which gives you the access card (in some places it says this is an annual fee, in others a one-time charge): there is also an iPhone app that allows you to register without paying the fee. Need to load minimum of £10 credit before you can charge - this is on top of the registration fee if applicable. Pricing has change several times in the months since launch.

    European networks for touring

    (this section is intended to identify charging options useful for UK-based drivers travelling abroad, rather than a comprehensive listing of the networks in each country. Please contribute more entries!)

    Networks

    • KiWhi Pass France-only, network of mostly fast (AC/CHAdeMO) charge points accessed with the 'KiWhi pass' card. Sign-up form for the card assumes you are a french resident, but several people report success via signing up online with the company's own HQ as the address and then contacting them to get the card sent out. More detail here. Most points free to use at present, but it is all set up as a pay-per-hour system. Map of locations available on the website, also iPhone app (which you can use for the map function without needing to register).
    • AutoLib. Paris area only. 'car club'-style short-term hire operator of EVs, can also use their charging infrastructure to charge your own car. Beware that you need a type3 charging cable to use these points to best advantage; some(?) points also provide a standard domestic-style socket that can be used for a slower charge if you have a Tesla UMC or similar. Detailed instructions on how to sign up and use the chargepoints here.
    • The New Motion Netherlands-based operator, points in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria. Variety of different charge point types/powers, many fairly low power AC. Variable pricing, some points charged per kWh others by time. Most easily accessed using a UK-issued CyC card (see UK section above), but several drivers have succeeded in obtaining a card directly from The New Motion.
    • ESB E-car Republic of Ireland. Can obtain card directly or use ECarNI card from Northern Ireland.

    Country Notes
    • France. Older charging points use the (French-designed) 'Type3' connector, rather than the 'Type2' used in most other parts of Europe; in theory the Type3 is being phased out, but some points are likely to remain for many years. It is possible to obtain a Type3c to Type2 cable (essentially the same as the Type2->Type2 cable you already have, but with a Type3c plug at the wall end), but they are expensive and it's a bulky thing to carry, given that you still need carry your Type2 cable for more modern points. Note also that the reason used to justify the existence of the type3 is that it has shutters over the pins - hence the plugs and sockets look similar and it may appear at first glance that they won't mate.
     
  3. mellington

    mellington Member

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    I'm sure there's a thread on this, I have Ecotricity and Charge Your Car.
     
  4. arg

    arg Member

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    #4 arg, Sep 17, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
    UK charge networks seem to be in a bit of a state of flux at the moment, as some are coming to the end of their grant money and having to reorganize or sell out; others are riding a new wave of government money and expanding, some just seem to be withering away.

    It is complicated by the fact that most of the networks don't actually own many (or any) chargepoints - they typically assisted the property owner with accessing grant funding to get the point installed, but it belongs to the property owner and the network just provides management services. Hence the same point often appears on several networks. There are often 'free' and chargeable-use points in the same network, since the owner of the point (who typically pays for the electricity) generally sets the pricing. Some points appear to be not available to the general public despite being nominally part of one of the networks. There is also a confusing set of 'roaming' agreements for one card to work on another network's points.

    Most points are online to some extent, but also have lists of acceptable card numbers stored in the post. This means:
    • Several networks now offer access via a mobile app as an alternative to getting a smartcard. This is good for obtaining instant access to a point on a network you haven't used before, but doesn't work if the post is offline, either due to a fault or because that post is never online (maybe due to no mobile phone reception in that location). Safer to have the card available for points you count on using.
    • The offline lists may not be updated very often. This means that a newly-issued card might not work at all points in the network immediately.

    Here's a reasonably complete list of UK networks:

    National networks:
    • Ecotricity. Primarily an electricity/gas supplier, who has decided to set up a national network of fast charging points mainly at motorway service areas. Access card is currently free to anybody and there are no usage charges; have indicated that it is likely to continue to be free for customers who buy their home gas/electricity from them. Convenient locations, fast charging and no fees makes this is the 'must join' network for all UK EV drivers.
    • Chargemaster / Polar. Very commercial. Has a tie-in with BMW. Announced their new pricing earlier this year (2014), which was widely considered to be very expensive. Card seems to be issued now only as part of their annual or monthly subscription plans - ad-hoc usage only via phone app. If using the app, you need to load on £20 of credit before you can access any chargepoints - even 'free' ones. Points seem to all be either 'free' or at their fixed tariff.
    • ChargeYourCar. Was originally a regional network; has now taken over some others and is providing back-office service to still more and so has become national. Card is £20 per year, can also access most (but not all) of their points via mobile app without paying for the card. Mobile app requires you to register a credit card, but unlike Chargemaster, nothing is billed to it if you just use 'free' points. Quite a range of different tariffs at their various locations (with a reasonable proportion 'free'). Can get cards with access to their network cheaper via other networks that use CYC as back-office: see below. Also offers automated telephone service to access charge points, with the same limitations as the app (needs credit card, doesn't work with 100% of points).
    • Podpoint. Primarily a manufacturer of chargepoint equipment; also operates a network. A lot of 'their' points actually seem to belong to other networks (where pod-point is operating back-office), but there are some unique ones. Doesn't seem to have been very active lately, at least in terms of publicity. Card is £12.50, mobile app 'coming soon'.
    • Elektromotive. Not a network as such, but a chargepoint equipment operator who also provide back-office support for the equipment they supply, on behalf of other networks. Can be a source of difficulty as this puts an extra party in the middle between reporting faults to the network and getting them fixed.
    • ZeroCarbonWorld/Zeronet. Unique in many ways: a charity that donates charging equipment and then provides marketing. Their chargepoints don't require any cards or other mechanism to access - just plug in and go. This means that ZCW don't actually 'operate' a network as such, they simply facilitate installation of charging at various destinations (mainly hotels, restaurants etc.), with the points then being maintained by the locations. Generally free-of-charge for customers of the places where they are installed.
    Regional networks:
    • Source London. Originally an organ of Transport for London, in September '14 taken over by IER (Bolloré group, with experience of similar schemes in France). Transitional arrangements of £5 for card and free usage, but new tariffs were due to be announced at the end of the year (2014). Loads of points, but disappointingly many are just 13A sockets. In late 2014, it was announced that the transitional arrangements (free usage) were to continue until 30/9/15 - apparently in response to the large number of points in the network which are not working, and disputes over maintenance arrangements.
    • Source East. Card is £10. Such points as actually work are free to use as there's no billing mechanism; a number of points appear to be private-use or otherwise restricted. Organisation appears moribund - not many points (none high power), no growth and poor support. Back office provided by some combination of PodPoint and Elektromotive. Allegedly provides roaming onto Source London, but seems unlikely to continue with new SL management. SE website also claims to allow roaming to Plugged in Midlands, but PiM support claim this is no longer operating (16/10/2014).
    • Plugged in Midlands. Recently transitioned many sites to ChargeYourCar management. Card is £20+VAT (but sometimes special offers). Card offers roaming to some other networks (eg. Ecotricity). 16/10/2014: PiM support says that you still need a PiM card to access those points that are not managed by CYC, but you need a CYC card (or the CYC app) to use the PiM-branded points now managed by CYC - the PiM card won't work there.
    • GMEV Greater Manchester. Many free charge points in Greater Manchester. Operations now fully subsumed into CYC (they do not issue their own cards, just encourage you to join CYC), but branding remains. Application form for card linked in the middle of this page - takes you to the CYC site, but offers you the GMEV-branded CYC card cheaper than the generic one (GMEV site says £10, apparently CYC charge you their usual £20 and then refund £10 to honour the GMEV price)
    • Source West Covering Bristol/Bath/Gloucester. Operated entirely by CYC, but offers free CYC card to local residents (of those cities plus North Somerset/North-east Somerset/South Gloucestershire council areas) via sign-up form.
    • Energise. Appears to have got recent (2014) grant money to install a bunch of triple-standard (AC/CHAdeMO/CCS) fast chargers in the South East (being defined as Kent/Surrey/Sussex), and despite the consolidation going on among the other regional networks, has decided to launch a new regional network! However, back-office is by CYC (and card gives access to all CYC points), so this is effectively a cheap way of getting a CYC card. Card appears to be free at present? (some people report trouble obtaining the card).
    • Ecar Northern IrelandNetwork of charge points across Northern Ireland. Apparently, all of their points are 22kW or better. Requires their own card - apparently free.
    • Charge Point Genie. 6 locations in Hampshire and two others in southern England (as at 21/11/14). All locations so far have CHAdeMO and high-power AC. Slightly secretive - can't see their map of locations until you've signed up! (but locations can be seen on zap-map). Appears to be a collaboration of electricity distributor SSE and charging equipment/back-office provider Charge Point Services. Fixed scale of charges - 20p/minute for CHAdeMO/CCS/42kW AC, 10p/minute for 22kW AC, 5p/minute for 7kW AC. Registration is £20, which gives you the access card (in some places it says this is an annual fee, in others a one-time charge): there is also an iPhone app that allows you to register without paying the fee. Need to load minimum of £10 credit before you can charge - this is on top of the registration fee if applicable.

    Please post any comments/corrections: I will update this as a FAQ.
     
  5. mellington

    mellington Member

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    Greater Manchester is a CYC managed setup: GMEV - Overview

    Free charging in lots of Manchester locations.
     
  6. arg

    arg Member

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    Thanks - have edited in (plus one more that I forgot).
     
  7. smac

    smac Active Member

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    Ecotricity and chargemaster are the only two I have, and TBH not really needed them, but they do offer the best motorway / public car park coverage.

    Tried the chargemaster app, and it's been very flakey. I ended up getting my cable stuck in the post when the app crashed, and I could no longer unlock it from the post :(

    I have also blagged the use of one free post by phoning the emergency number, and saying I'd lost my card and the technician unlocked it remotely ;)
     
  8. umar

    umar Member

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    The car comes with a pod point card. I've got CYC, ecotricity, source London & polar cards/apps. All the apps are flaky so it's worth buying the RFID cards. Given I spend £130 filling up my other car, the cost of the cards is negligible.
     
  9. Kribensa

    Kribensa Member

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    Source East also allow roaming onto the PiM network - so with SE costing £10 and allowing you to use SE and PiM charge points and PiM costing £20 for only PiM charge points it seems daft to just sign up for PiM

    I contacted SE support to ask about the roaming and they confirmed (on 30 Sep and after the CYC deal had settled down) the following:

     
  10. arg

    arg Member

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    OTOH, I just called PiM (saying that I already had SE card and asking what else I need to get), and they said:

    • Source East roaming is no longer active.
    • Some of the PiM locations are now managed by CYC, and for those locations you need the CYC card or app.
    • For other PiM locations, you still need the PiM card.
    • For full coverage you need both cards, or the PiM card and the CYC app.

    I'll update my summary post above, but not quite sure what to put, other than "driver beware".
     
  11. Kribensa

    Kribensa Member

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    Thanks arg - that is a little contrary to what Nicola at PodPoint said, but to be fair I guess they are still internally trying to figure out what the CYC management change actually means to coverage and their day-to-day operations.
    So I agree - driver beware, and maybe revisit in the new year when they may have a consistent response (and possibly even have updated their websites to show their respective coverage)
     
  12. shrillybargs

    shrillybargs New Member

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    Hi Arg
    Thank you for taking the time to compile this. Much appreciated by a soon to be Tesla driver.
     
  13. Wulnoth

    Wulnoth New Member

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    Dear ARG, your list of charge providers above is quite excellent.

    I am a forum member of LeafTalk as well as this forum and others, I wonder if you would be kind enough to allow me to re-post this list on LeafTalk as I believe they would be very grateful for the information, I would of course credit yourself with its authorship.

    I will of course take no action until I have your authority.
     
  14. arg

    arg Member

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    By all means. Maybe a link is appropriate, as I intend to keep it updated here as things change - but do whatever you think best.
     
  15. Wulnoth

    Wulnoth New Member

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    Thank you ARG, most kind.
     
  16. Wulnoth

    Wulnoth New Member

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    I have now posted ARG's charge provider list on the LeafTalk forum and everyone on the forum is grateful for your work.

    Thank you again for letting me post it there.
     
  17. mgboyes

    mgboyes Member

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    Energise seems to be a non-network to me. They are now claiming just to be an aggregator, but the list of networks they claim to let you access I believe can all be accessed with a straight CYC card anyway.

    Here's their FAQ saying they don't operate any charge points themselves: FAQs | Energise Network
     
  18. arg

    arg Member

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    The trouble is, almost all of the networks are in fact aggregators, not actually owning any of the points (cf. the current Source London debacle, where there is argument going on over exactly who owns the various points, but it isn't SL).

    In this case, it looks like Energise was created as a vehicle to extract OLEV funding for a few new locations without the local councils having to put up any(?) money:

    https://news.eastsussex.gov.uk/2014/06/25/charging-network-will-help-drivers-go-electric-and-go-further/

    Net effect is no different to GMEV - to the user, they are just an own-label version of CYC, marginally interesting as a cheaper way of getting a CYC card. Behind the scenes, more taxpayer money gurgling down the drain.

    Still, so long as they continue to waste money advertising themselves, I think it's useful to have them in the table precisely so that you can discover they are in fact another CYC brand rather than something separate to join. Possibly I ought to have a separate section for non-networks as distinct from real ones?
     
  19. gdavison

    gdavison Member

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    really helpful thread.. thanks

    Can we vote for a "Sticky" ?
     
  20. arg

    arg Member

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    #20 arg, Jan 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
    Updated summary post to add note about european roaming for CYC and updated pricing for ChargepointGenie.
     

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