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Non-Tesla Charging Networks

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Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
So it looks like I'll be getting my Model 3 on Sept 30th. Time to get serious about things! What's people's thoughts on the non-Tesla charging networks? I've tried Googling what's out there but the choice is mind-boggling! It looks like Polar has the most locations, but with the sting-in-the-tail of an £8/mo subscription. Is it worth the £8? Are there others that are worth looking at? Confused :confused:
Recommend the Polar network, so far every charger has been fine and they have plenty of slow chargers which will of course be beneficial to the battery long term vs too much supercharging. At some location you can fast charge for free so 1 or 2 fast charges a month would save you the subscription fee just watch out for the over stay fees.

Another one that I will be looking to use is Instavolt who seem to be very reliable, hopefully they will add some in Wales soon!

I will be avoiding Ecotricity unless absolutely necessary so this will help in avoiding faulty chargers.
What's people's thoughts on the non-Tesla charging networks?

Almost universally dreadful.

I've had my car over 3 years, and majority of my travelling charging has been Supercharger, but I have used a variety of brands of 3rd party charging all over the country and it just makes me realise how "right sized" the Supercharger solution is.

Supercharger = Rock up, plug in, perhaps just check the power ramps up as expect for a minute or so, then walk away / get on with something else. Looking at my logs every single Supercharge has been less than 1 minute from selecting PARK to charge starting.

My worst 3rd party experience was a pump that didn't work. I tried it twice (not unreasonable eh?) and then used the cable from the adjacent pump (didn't even have to move the car) and that worked. Not a bad experience on the face of it, but using the APP to start the charge, and enter my payment card, meant a total of 20 minutes before the charge started. I would think my best ever was 5 minutes, and quite possibly the same to disconnect by the time I've got the APP open and initiated the "stop charge" and waited for the airwaves to communicate that to the pump

Lots of times I've never been able to charge at all - pumps broken, or operator telling me they could initial the charge remotely ... and then not managing to do so.

There are incompatibility problems too. I've not had any (I'm using CHAdeMO which has been pretty reliable for all the brands of cars that have used it), but people using CCS do have problems now and again, including model-3 owners, and other brands, such as iPace, have significant problems (some iPace cars connect to Ecotricity OK, other cars never manage it, no really telling whether it is a Jag or Ecotricity problem (why would some cars work OK?). Either way :: Nightmare.

Many of them, like BP, are busy arm-twisting to sign up for a monthly subscription ... crazy. A fair number are outrageously expensive too.

yeah, just buy a Tesla and use the Supercharger network whenever you can, and destination chargers whenever you can, and avoid 3rd party chargers.

Some newcomers, like Ionity, look like doing a much better job ... but they are installing 2 and 4 stall sites and it isn't going to be long before they are fully occupied. Tesla haven't rolled out a 4 stall site in the UK since 2015 !

slow chargers which will of course be beneficial to the battery long term vs too much supercharging

I agree "too much Supercharging" but I reckon for most people Rapid Charging will be 10% of their miles, or less, and that level I wouldn't give it a second though. If it happens that you have a couple of hours to kill in a shopping mall then a 50kW charger will be fine, and kinder to the battery, but for a long journey much better to charge in a short time and get on with the journey.
Another one that I will be looking to use is Instavolt who seem to be very reliable, hopefully they will add some in Wales soon!

InstaVolt is also a good choice. They came second in the recent Zap-Map user survey. All use tap-to-pay with a debit/credit card. 35p/KWh

Zap-Map user survey reveals top 10 EV charging networks - Zap-Map

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Other than Tesla (85%), slots #2 to #10 have a "Very satisfied" rating ranging from 65% down to 28% .... say's it all AFAIAC

Chap on twitter, head of strategy for BPChargemaster, makes an interesting point. That the way some chargepoint sites on local government land are funded (capex covered by central grant, but ongoing maintenance comes out of local govt budget) means he has some 'stranded assets' - chargers not being maintained

Tom Callow on Twitter
Sorry, I have huge disagreement with BP policy. BP decided to buy Polar-whatever, did their due-diligence, would not expect them to be complaining about things like that; if they want to lead the pack they could just get their wallet out and sort it out ... but it seems that BP think the answer is for everyone to have a monthly subscription with every? provider, separately. I can't see how BP's strategy is going to get them to acquire customers (other than perhaps people who have no off-street parking / home charging ... but I am doubtful that many of them are EV-buyers at this time), whereas if BP went long on loss-leader, at this time, they could corner the market and shut out up-coming competition.

BP 150kW (same-ish as Supercharger) price is 40p / kWh (half that if you take out the subscription - very nearly £100 p.a., so you would have to buy 500 kWh @ BP to break even ... that's 2,000 M3 miles). Supercharger is 25p, Home Off Peak is roughly 10p, can be as low as 5p.

By my calculations 40p per kWh is about the same price as petrol in a 60 MPG car