One of the biggest drivers in the growth of the electric car is the massive reduction in running costs thanks to the price of electricity being as much as 10 times cheaper than conventional fuels when it comes to topping up your car.
But did you know that you can still charge for free at thousands of locations around the country? Research by charging website Zap-Map revealed that, as of January 2021, there were still nearly 5000 free chargers across the UK. That means that nearly a quarter of all EV charging points won’t set you back a penny. So where are all these freebie chargers?
Where Can I Charge My Electric Car For Free?
Well, it’s a big electric clap on the back to the Scottish Government for taking first place in the free charging league tables.
They’ve supported the growth of the charging network by building the ChargePlace Scotland network, which promises free charging at the vast majority of its locations. They now have more than 1500 charge points across Scotland which can be accessed after you have signed up to an annual £20 access card. A free live map displays the status and cost of all their chargers on the network.
Following Scotland, the next best area of the UK for free charging is the South East with 642 free sites and the North West with 445. This means that while 60% of EV chargers in Scotland are free, that figure drops to 22% in the South East, and 31% in the North West.
Which Types Of EV Chargers Are Free To Use?
There’s further good news in that the vast majority of free chargers around the UK are also classed as fast or rapid. Of the 4928 free devices, only 441 (or 8.9%) are slow 3kW chargers, with 4045 being classed as fast (typically between 7 and 22kW) and 442 being rapid (generally 50kW and more).
So Where Can You Find A Free Electric Car Charger?
If in doubt head for a car park. There are 1295 free chargers spread between retail, public and workplace car parks in the UK. You’ll also find 555 free devices at dealership forecourts, 415 at hotels and other accommodation around the UK, and 223 at various miscellaneous locations like zoos, National Trust properties and leisure centres.
Is Electric Car Charging Free At Supermarkets?
Yes, but only at some supermarkets. Tesco currently provides more than 600 chargers across its 300 locations but free fast charging is only available via its fast 7/22kW chargers. If you want to use a rapid charger then you are going to have to pay.
Other supermarkets with free EV charging points include Sainsbury’s (133 devices across 47 locations), Lidl (120 across 101) and Aldi (39 across 20). Morrisons, Waitrose and Asda also have EV charging points, but they aren’t free to use on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Do Free Electric Car Chargers Have Restrictions On Who Can Use Them?
Yes, perhaps not surprisingly, many retailers and service providers want to attract customers so don’t be surprised if their chargers are marked for ‘customers only’.
And you might well need to download an app (or even have an RFID touch card) to fire up some of the chargers. It’s worth doing a bit of planning or research to see if you need that for a free local chargepoint. Remember, too, that while you might be able to charge for free, you might have to pay for parking if you’re going to be there for a while.
How To Find Free Electric Car Chargers Nearby
The best way to find a free electric charge point near you is to use an app or website that allows you to filter charging points by price. You can do this via sites like Zap-Map or by using Google Maps.
And finally… We’re offering either Free Charging from Vanarama on over 8000 charge points from BP Pulse if you lease a vehicle from us, or a free home charge point if that is better for you. Check out the lease deals it comes with here. Terms and conditions apply.