Finding free EV chargers in the UK can be challenging – but it’s not impossible. While Scotland currently has the most free electric car chargers in 2023, plenty are still available around the remainder of the UK.
If you’re currently wondering – where can I charge my electric car for free in the UK? – keep reading. In this blog post, we’ll let you know where you will likely find free electric car chargers, explore the types of free chargers, and take you through the access restrictions you may encounter. We’ll also provide some handy resources for EV owners to find free electric car charging points near you.
Free electric car charging in the UK is not unheard of, but it’s becoming rarer by the day. That said, the best places to find free EV charging points in the UK are:
While these are places where free EV charging tends to be available, you will find guaranteed free electric car charging at certain supermarkets – large-name supermarket brands such as Lidl, Aldi and Sainsbury’s all offer free EV charging.
There are several ways to find free chargers near you in the UK. Below are some of our favourites:
By using these apps, you can easily find free electric car charging points near you. But make sure to check the terms and conditions of each free electric car charging point to ensure that they are truly free and don’t require any membership or subscription fees.
Electric car chargers come in different charging speeds, but fast and rapid electric car chargers are the most common types of free public charging points. Due to the higher cost, it’s unlikely that you will find ultra-rapid EV chargers that offer free EV charging.
Fast chargers charge at 7kW to 22kW AC rates and are usually found in supermarkets, car parks and other local attractions. Examples of fast EV chargers you may come across are BP Pulse and Pod Point chargers.
Rapid charge points charge at 50kW to 99kW and are usually found at motorway service stations. However, free rapid electric car chargers and free ultra-rapid EV chargers are harder to find due to their locations and the higher cost to charge.
Sometimes, free electric vehicle chargers will have access restrictions in place. Such restrictions will vary depending on the type of charger and where it is located. Take note of the most common access restrictions for free electric vehicle chargers in the UK:
Time limits: Some free charging points may have time limits in place, meaning you can only use the charger for a certain amount of time before your charging stops, and you will have to pay to continue.
Membership or subscription requirements: Certain free electric vehicle chargers may require you to be a member of a specific charging network or to have a subscription to use the charger.
Location restrictions: Free electric car chargers may only be available to customers of a specific business or organisation. For example, some supermarkets may only offer free charging to their customers, and some workplace chargers are only likely to be available to employees.
Parking restrictions: You may be required to pay for parking in order to use the free charger. Make sure to check the parking restrictions before using the charging point.
Priority use: Some free electric car charging points may give priority access to certain types of electric vehicles, such as taxis or electric vans.
App or RFID card access: Another consideration is that you’ll need to ensure you have the appropriate RFID card or app to start a charge. Different brands of chargers may have different access methods, so it’s worth checking that you are covered before you visit a charger.
It’s essential to check the access restrictions for each charging point before you use it. This information can usually be found on the charging point itself or the website or mobile app of the charging network. Zap-Map also allows you to check whether any restrictions are in place. By checking the access restrictions in advance, you can ensure a hassle-free charging experience and avoid any unexpected fees or restrictions.
If you’re fortunate enough to have an employer that supports electric vehicles, you may be able to charge your car for free at work. Many companies in 2023 offer free or subsidised electric car charging stations, which allow employees to charge their electric vehicles conveniently whilst they work.
Incentives are available for businesses interested in installing EV chargers, too. The Workplace Charging Scheme provides up to £14,000 of government funding towards the installation of EV chargers at the workplace, and the EV infrastructure grant offers an additional £15,000 of grant funding for installing chargers for staff and fleet use. With this in mind, it may be worth discussing workplace EV chargers with your employer to see whether this is something they would consider. There are significant benefits to doing so, both for employees and employers.
Technically, yes, you can get a free home electric car charger with the Motability scheme. In fact, Motability covers the cost of a home EV charger and its standard installation. However, a free home EV charger is only available for those who receive a qualifying mobility allowance.
The window on being able to charge your EV for free is closing, but free electric car chargers are still available in the UK – you just have to know where to look.
Several websites and mobile apps, such as Zap-Map and PlugShare, can help you find the number of free charging points near you. However, it’s essential to be aware of access restrictions such as time limits, membership requirements, location and parking restrictions.
To conclude, you shouldn’t entirely rely on free chargers to charge your electric car. Any free charging points you do find are likely to be in high demand, so you may have to wait a while to use them – it’s unlikely you’ll have enough time for a full top-up too.
On top of this, certain EV chargers may be free now, but this does not mean they will stay free forever, so you should make the most of them while you can before you have to resort to frequent, expensive public EV charging trips. Instead, take advantage of cheaper, greener and more convenient EV charging at home with a dedicated home EV charger.
While home chargers may not be completely free to charge, they are a great way to save on EV charging costs – especially compared to the cost of public EV charging. Up to £1000 of savings can be made by installing a smart home EV charger with a charge scheduling feature, and further savings can be made by investing in a home charger with tariff integration.
If you are looking to get an EV charger installed at your property, get in touch with us today at 03333 44 96 99, fill in our contact form below or browse our wide range of market-leading home electric car chargers. As an experienced, accredited electric car installation company, we can handle the entire process for you – from start to finish – including DNO applications and grant paperwork. All with first-class customer service.
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This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.
This type of electric charger requires a seperate cable to charge your car.
Spread over a 60 month period.
Tenants and homeowners are eligible for finance.
You decide the amount of months.
Minimum of £1000.
We will contact you to process the credit application. Approval is subject to application, financial circumstances and borrowing history. 13.9% APR representative. T&Cs apply.
Your order is not confirmed until your application has been approved.
We lay SWA cable laid at 600mm deep, with a protective cable warning tape laid 150mm above the cable. These are laid on a sand or sifted sand soil bed then backfilled.
We position overhead cables at a minimum height of 3.5m and are run along a catenary wire. The cable run should not be accessible to vehicles.
Our instant price is fixed if it falls within our standard installation package plus any additions that you have selected (extra cabling for example). This package covers the majority of homes in the UK. Before we undertake your installation we will carry out a digital survey to check that nothing has been missed. After reviewing the survey results some additional work may be required in order to complete your installation safely and to the required standards. If this is the case, we will contact you well before the installation date and advise the cost of any required work. You can then continue with your installation, or alternatively we will refund you in full if you do not want to proceed.
Included in our standard installation is :
• Fitting of a single phase charge point to a brick or plaster wall or other suitable permanent structure
• Up to 10 metres of cable, run and neatly clipped to the wall between the electricity supply meter / distribution board and the charge point.
• Routing of the cable through a drilled hole in a wall up to 500mm (20 inches) thick if this is needed.
• The fitting and testing of electrical connections and protections required for the charge point.
• An additional three way consumer unit, if required
• Installation of a Type A RCBO in an RCBO enclosure
• Up to 3 metres of plastic trunking to conceal interior wiring.
• An O-pen earth protection device if the charge point requires it. (This is NOT an earth rod)
• Up to 4 hours of labour from your installer to complete the work.
• Electrical testing of the whole installation.
• Handover and setup of the charge point and any app that may be needed.
Not included in our standard installation (additional work) :
• Where the installation requires additional cabling over and above the amount you have told us about.
• Upgrade/replacement of the main incoming supply fuse where the local DNO (eg Northern Powergrid) would need to attend site.
• If the charge point is to be mounted on a post/pedestal rather than an existing wall and where you have not selected a post as an extra cost option in your order.
• Installation of a charge point to a three phase supply.
• Where gas and water mains bonding (earthing) is not in place at your property. If this is not in place, additional work would be required before installation of the charge point.
• Any groundwork that has not been selected during the order process.
A Surge Protection Device is not included in our standard installation.
What else you need to know :
• On the day of installation, please ensure that the area around your consumer unit (fuse box), incoming electricity supply meter and proposed charge point location (including where the cable is expected to be run) is clear and free of obstructions.
• We will need your WiFi password as part of the installation process in order to connect your charge point to the internet. Please have this available for the installer. Details will not be kept.
• The charge point must be on your own designated off road parking.
• The charger will be fixed in line with current guidelines at a height where it cannot be hit by a vehicle.
• Our installers are not able to enter loft spaces; lift floorboards or flooring; take apart any furniture of work above a height of 2m. If you anticipate that any of this may be required, then please contact us and we can discuss in more detail and provide you with a quotation.
• Should there be extreme weather conditions our installers may not be able to continue with you installation if it is not safe to do so (for example flooding). They will always do their best to complete the work where they can.
If you have any questions then please contact our customer service team who will be happy to help. Please also read our terms and conditions.