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UK charging networks to join

WannabeOwner

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2015
6,772
3,540
Suffolk, UK
Can't help you with Up North specifically, but Charge Your Car seems to be compatible with a number of networks, and I think of them as being Northern-biased they also charge for use after-the-fact (monthly I think), which gets my vote ... the accuracy of their map is a joke (in fairness I haven't checked if extensively ... but e.g. the charger I used in York was over a mile away from the marker on their map ...) so use Zap Map or Plugshare to get more accurate location,and also User feedback on whether its operational or broken ...

My advice FWIW:

If a Supplier has an APP for phone, and ability to use it without having to have actually put down a 20-quid deposit beforehand (albeit that you might have had to register a Credit Card) then you might as well do that. Install the App and register before you leave home to ensure you have good WiFi

If you are going to charge with a particular Supplier often then get their RFID token - that will let you charge even if you cannot get a mobile phone signal / use the APP at their pump for some reason. Likely to connect more quickly too. (The APP I use for Polar takes about 5 minutes for the time-to-connect and the time-to-disconnect, its ridiculous!)

Also reasonably likely that you will be able to phone them, if you are stood at a charging post and can't get it to work, and they will activate it remotely. So worth having their support phone number with you (in case there is no data-network for APP)

I have used 3rd party charging so rarely that it would have made zero sense for me to pay a monthly-sub, or even to buy an RFID chip (despite what their sales people were absolutely convinced would be best for me :rolleyes:). Rollout of new Tesla Superchargers means I need 3rd party less-and-less ...
 

arg

Active Member
Supporting Member
Aug 22, 2012
1,838
1,853
Cambridge, UK
Most of the networks are very patchy (having been built up from local networks funded by grant money - with all the chargepoints in a given area having been funded by one grant and so ending up on one network). Things are improving a bit with mergers and organic growth, but it's still likely that if the chargepoint you want to use is on a network you aren't subscribed to, all the nearby alternatives will be on the same network. Note that by November this year, all networks will be required by law to allow access on an ad-hoc basis (ie. not requiring a monthly subscription) - this already applies to newly-installed points from last year.

If you have a CHAdeMO adapter and travel the motorways/major A-roads that aren't currently well served with Superchargers, then Ecotricity is probably most useful (but it's app-based, non subscription anyhow, so just download the app). If you want charging at your destination, then it's pot luck which network you need.

Geniepoint/ChargepointGenie allow you the option to register any RFID card you already have if you can find out the serial number (some Android phones can read the serial number, or there's a way of finding it out once already at a Geniepoint unit so that you can register it for next time. Their cardless access is a mobile-friendly website rather than an app.

Instavolt are pure contactless credit/debit card with no need for prior signup or apps. This is probably the future for rapid charging, but the equipment is probably too expensive for slow destination charging so we can expect apps etc. to continue for those (Instavolt don't have any).

Podpoint (for their destination chargers) have a neat scheme where you plug in and it starts charging immediately; you then have 15 minutes to sign in via their app or webpage (allowing you to move somewhere warm/better internet coverage before doing so, and giving at least some charge in an emergency if things aren't working).

Chargemaster are the Ryanair of charging. They want you to sign up for their monthly fee and have (deliberately?) arranged that their other access methods are crap. They are doing the bare minimum to comply with the new law: their new model chargepoints have the hardware to accept debit/credit cards, but they are only enabling it where forced to do so by the site owner, and right up until the cut-off date they were installing new points only accessible on their monthly card.

CYC historically had a good attitude to customer service but a hopeless business model (they don't own any hardware, they just provide access to units owned by others - mostly local councils which had grant funding for the installation but no funding for subsequent maintenance. Hence you got a friendly guy on the phone to tell you that yes, the post you want to use has been broken for weeks and they can't persuade the council to fix it. Since the Chargemaster takeover, customer service seems to have declined.

There's loads of other minor networks - EV driver (Norfolk/Suffolk) and Franklin Energy (various) at least have a roaming arrangement so you need one or the other. TheNewMotion (Netherlands-based) have lots of roaming across Europe but not in the UK, however they now have a few points in the UK in their own right. Shell have a few units at filling stations with their own app-based access (at least the cashier at the filling station is supposed to have a card to give you emergency access if the app doesn't work).
 

WannabeOwner

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2015
6,772
3,540
Suffolk, UK
Chargemaster are ... the Ryanair ... crap ... bare minimum ...

Got it!

Polar / Polar Plus, which I mentioned up-thread, are ChargeMaster, I still haven't completely used up the £20 I had to deposit with them to create an account nearly two years ago ... I have charged with them a few times, so I suppose they aren't that dear but (for me) the frequency is so low that anything deposit-based is nuts.
 
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Thanks guys! I found a home energy provider OVO that give you access to the polar plus network free which I thought was great but then realised the kWh rate was as bad as British Gas who I’m with now lol.

I as watching a YouTube vid of some guys up here and he had about 6 cards all for different networks and I just thought, what a load of crap!

The government need to do more to standardize use and pricing. One company I saw “I forget the name” said they charge 30p per kWh, which is mental but then again the cost of gas and electricity in this country is crazy.
 

WannabeOwner

Well-Known Member
Nov 2, 2015
6,772
3,540
Suffolk, UK
he had about 6 cards all for different networks

Although ...

... that's only going to matter for you if you cannot charge at Supercharger (because your journeys don't go near Superchargers)

But I agree with "crap" and "mental" though :)

That might be true (on average) for one or two journeys, but I doubt it will be enough journeys to various parts of the UK that you need a fist full of charging-APPs

Worth considering how far out of your way you would drive for a Supercharger instead of using a 3rd party one on-route. Too far out of your way and you are adding miles (that you have to wait-and-charge for, in additional to your actual journey), but given that Supercharger is 2x as fast as CHAdeMO and, what?, 4x?? as fast as other type of "fast charging", it usually makes sense to go some way off the route ...

... plus when you get to Supercharger there will very likely be unoccupied bays, and they will not be broken ...
 

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