Can you charge an electric car for free? If you own an electric car, you’re aware that it is far from free, while charging is less expensive than refilling a gasoline or diesel vehicle.
If you charge at home, you may have noticed an increase in your electricity bill to represent the energy consumed during charging. If you need to stop at an electric charge station to refuel, you may recall the high cost of rapid public chargers.
where can you charge an electric car for free? Fortunately, there are still several locations in the UK where you can refuel your car for free. We’ll look at the kind of locations where you might find free chargers, how to locate them more precisely, and when you should and shouldn’t use them in this post.
Where can you charge an electric car for free?
Scotland is the finest area to charge your car for free, as Transport for Scotland operates numerous charge stations under the ChargePlace Scotland banner, the most of which are free to use (although there is a £20 annual fee for the privilege).
London and southeast England also have a high density of free charging sites, but this is more owing to the density of the population and the sheer amount of charging outlets than to any scheme.
The UK’s most isolated regions, like Wales and the Channel Islands, have the fewest free charge points, as expected, for the same reasons. Local governments offer free charging in certain locations to encourage drivers to switch to electric vehicles, so you may profit from this whether you reside in Scotland, Yorkshire, or Manchester.
Locations that are likely to provide free car chargers
There is no assurance that any location will have a free charger, as most public charging terminals in the UK are fee-based. However, some locations offer a greater number of free chargers than others.
For instance, public parking lots, particularly those serving retail malls and supermarkets, are by far the best source of free chargers. For example, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl, and Aldi feature complimentary charging points in their car parks (at select locations).
Additionally, you may find complimentary car charges at hotel parking lots and attractions such as restaurants, parks, recreation centres, and garden centres. Many of these chargers are reserved for clients of the facility to which they are linked, while many others still require pre-registration for a card.
How to locate free electric car chargers in your neighbourhood
The best approach to locate a free electric car charger near you is to utilize a charging point locator app or website. Zap-Map, Google Maps, and Open Charge Map provide information on where to find electric-car charging stations, and many of the stations they list are free to use.
Once you’ve located a charging point, click, or press it to determine whether it’s free to use. An app is a convenient way to obtain this information while you’re out and about.
When is it appropriate to pay for electric vehicle charging?
While it’s tempting to always want free energy for your car, there are specific circumstances in which you should seek out a premium charger. If you’re on a road trip and need to recharge your battery without stopping for an extended period, investing in a quick charger is advisable. This does not apply if you can locate a free rapid auto charger, although these are quite unusual.
In the United Kingdom, there are several types of free EV charging stations.
In terms of actual numbers, the freest devices are available at attractions, hotels and accommodations, dealership forecourts, and car parks (particularly retail). Consider three of these categories in greater detail.
As you can expect, many attractions offer complimentary admission to entice visitors to attend. Search Zap-Map for ‘Attraction’ and filter by location type. You’ll discover cafes, restaurants, bars, museums, garden centers, theatres, zoos, National Trust locations, and leisure facilities that offer free charge.
Hotels and lodging
Numerous hotels and bed and breakfasts give complimentary charging to visitors, possibly more than have registered. Charity ZeroNet, in any case, provides charging stations for the hotel and leisure industries. Customers can use the majority of the networks with more than 450 charging stations for free.
Around 40% of the approximately 6,000 charge devices in retail and other vehicle parks are free to use and are frequently provided by local governments or subsidized by the business. However, with 1,295 free EV charging spots, retail parking lots have the most. Additionally, like attractions and lodging, many merchants – supermarkets, for example – offer free charging to entice loyal consumers.
Can you charge an electric car for free in Supermarkets?
Yes, some supermarkets offer it for free. Tesco, for example, has over 600 chargers spread across 300 stores and offers free charging on their fast 7/22kW chargers, but charges for rapid charge points.
Other stores that offer free EV charging include Sainsbury’s (133 devices in 47 locations), Lidl (120 in 101 locations), and Aldi (39 across 20). As with Tesco, Pod Point is the network provider, with most free charging taking place on its fast 7/22kW chargers. Morrison’s, Waitrose, and Asda all offer EV charging stations; however, they are not pay-as-you-gone.
Are there any restrictions on who can use free electric car chargers?
Yes, some do, and this is something to keep in mind when looking for free chargers. Over 1,000 free charge points are restricted in some way (for example, devices that are ‘customer only’).
Another factor to consider is that you’ll need the necessary RFID card or app to initiate a charge, and while charging is typically free, there may be additional parking charges.
Before you rush over to claim your free charge, one final thought – be sure to examine Zap-Map and the user comments to gain insight into all the intricacies of a particular charge station.
Looking for quick, easy and reliable EV charger installation? Wether that be for home charge, public charge or workplace charge, Trent Vehicle Charging are here to help. If you have any questions then please visit our FAQ page or don’t hesitate to get in touch.