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Where can I charge my electric car for free?

Where can I charge my electric car for free?

Are you an electric vehicle owner looking for free charging stations? With the rising popularity of electric vehicles, finding free charging points can be challenging, but there are still plenty available. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore the types of free chargers, the locations where you can find them, and 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. Keep reading to learn more!

How do I find free electric car charge points near me?

There are several ways to find free chargers near you in the UK. Below are some of our favourites.

Zap-Map: Zap-Map is a popular website and mobile app that provides information about electric car charging stations across the UK. You can use Zap-Map to find free EV charging points near you by selecting the “Free to use” option in the search filter.

PlugShare: PlugShare is another website and mobile app that provides information about electric car charging stations. PlugShare allows you to filter search results to show only free charging points.

By using these resources, you can easily find free electric car charging points near you. It’s also a good idea to check the terms and conditions of each charging point to ensure that they are truly free and don’t require any membership or subscription fees.

As of November 2022, Zap-Map identified that of roughly 36,000 charging devices on Zapmap, 3,961 were free to use. This is around 11% of all EV charging points that are free to use. As such, there is still plenty of opportunity to make use of these free charging points.

Which locations have free electric vehicle charging stations?

The types of locations that are likely to offer free charging points in the UK include:

  • Public car parks such as in supermarkets, shopping centres or leisure centres
  • Car dealerships
  • Hotels and accommodation businesses
  • Attractions such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, museums and many more

Is electric car charging free at supermarkets?

A select number of UK Supermarkets still offer free EV charging. Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Lidl currently offer some free EV charging stations for customers. Morrisons and Tesco previously offered free charging, but now chargers in these supermarkets will likely come at a cost.

Which part of the UK will you find the most electric car chargers that are free to use?

Scotland currently leads the way regarding free electric car charging in the UK. Electric car owners in Scotland have access to the ChargePlace Scotland network operated by Transport for Scotland. There are currently over 2,500 public chargepoints in the network, and you can charge an EV for free at most of these.

You can use the live map on the ChargePlace Scotland website to filter the charging points that are free to use.

Which types of electric car chargers are free to use?

The most common types of free public charging points are fast and rapid chargers.

Fast chargers charge at rates of 7kW to 22kW AC 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 a power of 50kW to 99kW and are usually found at motorway service stations and hotels. However, it is harder to find free rapid chargers.

Although rare, slow chargers are also available and may not be useful unless you plan to stay parked for an extended period. This type of charger charges at a power of 3kW and is usually in the form of a 3-pin socket.

Tesla Supercharger

How long does it take to charge my electric car for free?

A downside of using free electric vehicle chargers is that they are usually public chargers, and you will have to wait around while your car charges. As such, you may wonder how long it will take to charge your vehicle to determine how long you will need to wait.

The quickest method to charge your electric vehicle is using rapid chargers, which can provide between 60-200 miles of range in just 20-30 minutes. This is the perfect amount of time to grab a coffee or a bite to eat while you wait. However, as mentioned previously, finding a free rapid charger can be more challenging. 

7kW fast chargers can charge a typical electric car with a 60kWh battery in under 8 hours, from empty to full. While it is unlikely that you will conduct a full charge at a public fast charger, you may want to top up your charge for a few hours. Free public chargers are typically found in supermarkets, car parks or local attractions, so there will be plenty to do while you wait.

Using a 3kW slow charger can take up to, or sometimes over, 18 hours for a full charge of an electric vehicle. As such, utilising a free 3kW charger is only possible if you are going to be parked up for an extended period, such as at a hotel or B&B.

public charging point

Are there access restrictions to charge your electric car for free?

Free electric vehicle chargers can have access restrictions in place. These restrictions vary depending on the type of charger and where it is located.

Here are some 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. This ensures that the charger is available for other drivers who need it.

Membership or subscription requirements: Some free charging points may require you to be a member of a specific charging network or to have a subscription to use the charger.

Location restrictions: Some free charging points 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: Some free charging points may require you to pay for parking to use the charger. Make sure to check the parking restrictions before using the charger.

Priority use: Some free 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 access 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. To find out more about RFID cards for EV charging, read our blog.

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. The Zap-Map app 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.

Charge an electric car at your workplace

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 are now offering workplace charging stations, which allow employees to charge their electric vehicles while they work. This is an excellent option for those who commute to work and can take advantage of the charging time during the day.

There are currently many incentives for businesses to install EV chargers, such as the Workplace Charging Scheme. As such, it may be worth discussing with your employer to see whether this is something they could consider and invest in for the future.

Read our blog to discover the benefits of workplace EV charging.


The window on being able to charge your EV for free is closing, but free electric car chargers are still available.

Several websites and mobile apps, such as Zap-Map and PlugShare, can help you find the number of charging points near you. However, it’s essential to be aware of access restrictions such as time limits, membership requirements, and location and parking restrictions. By checking the access restrictions in advance, you can ensure a hassle-free charging experience and avoid any unexpected fees or restrictions.

There are many ways to charge using free EV chargers, but 7kW fast chargers are the most common type. These can be found in public car parks, hotels, and attractions like cafes, restaurants, and museums.

If you are an employee, you may be able to take advantage of free charging at your workplace, which is an excellent option for those who want to save money on charging their EV.

However, you shouldn’t entirely rely on these free chargers. 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. Moreover, while these chargers may be free now, this does not mean they will stay free forever, so you should make the most of them while you can.

While installing a home charger may not be completely free, after the initial investment, it is a great way to save money on the running costs of your EV. If you are looking to get an EV charger installed at your property, get in touch with us today at 03333 44 96 99 or fill in our contact form below.

To keep up to date with everything electric, stay tuned to our blog. Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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Tethered charger

This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.

Socketed charger

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.

Underground cable

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.

Overhead cable

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.

Standard Installation
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.