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Charging in the UK

  • 09-09-2021 2:20pm
    Registered Users Posts: 184 ✭✭bodgerfederer


    Anyone travelling much in the UK with advice for rapid charging?

    My first ev i bought back from the UK and used ecotricity and a something at a supermarket. A couple of the ecotricitys were broke though and a lot of people moan about them.

    I hear Instavolts are good?

    thanks in advance.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,988 ✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    You'll want to download Zap Map, it's probably the best for finding chargers in the UK

    EVM did a guide a few months ago to all the UK networks, probably good idea to take a look

  • Registered Users Posts: 232 ✭✭MinnieMinx

    Maybe also register on the UK EV forum

    I’ve been using this forum to answer a lot of my general EV queries as they obviously have higher numbers of EV’s in the U.K. compared to us.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,064 ✭✭✭fricatus

    The Ecotricity Electric Highway has been bought by Gridserv lately, and they're putting in massive investment. So some of the crappy old Ecotricity locations with the single DBT ChaDeMo chargers are unchanged, and others are 4- or 6-charger hubs. There are two massive forecourts at Braintree in Essex, and on the M6 near Rugby.

    Obviously there are going to be ongoing improvements, but Zap Map is a good place to start on checking your route and seeing if you'll benefit from the new hubs.

    Instavolt has a very good reputation and offers contactless payment. I think Ecotricity also do now, at least at the new units.

    I don't know much about Osprey, but they seem to have a good reputation too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,064 ✭✭✭fricatus

    Update: I'm just back from the UK, including a trip from the ferry at Pembroke in Wales to near Rotherham in South Yorkshire in a single day.

    I used only Gridserve and Instavolt fast chargers. Instavolt is more expensive, even though it's not on the motorway network, but the advantage seems to be that they are much more available and (anecdotally at least) reliable.

    The only issues I encountered were:

    • All chargers out of order on the M5 at Strensham, between Bristol and Birmingham, due to a grid issue. I had to go to an Instavolt unit near Worcester at a lowish SOC, but that worked fine and I was back on my way.
    • The M4 is poorly served, so I had to stop earlier than I'd have liked, at Chievely (which is a very awkward layout), and then I had to take a little trip a junction down the M5 towards Bristol (to a place called Mollie's Diner, which had a really good setup with plenty of chargers)
    • My debit card wasn't accepted on my last charge, which I could have done without as I was on my way back to the ferry 😲 I called Gridserve and they were superb - they started the charger for me for free. I felt bad then, since when I went into the services, and tried to buy coffee, use the ATM, etc., my card was declined there too, so clearly a problem with my card and not the charger! The bank had blocked it, presumably due to unusual activity. Moral of the story: bring two cards! (and put a travel note on them with the bank)

    Lots of EVs over there now, just like here I suppose. The infrastructure is improving rapidly, so you'll notice that it's really patchy in some places, but superb in others (I was in Rugby M6 services, which is amazing, like something you'd see in Norway on a Bjorn Nyland video). It's clear they're taking EVs seriously - for example, all the big VMS signs on the M4 were reporting the charger outage at Strensham, which was quite impressive.

    Lastly, the whole trip (Pembroke - Yorkshire - London - Pembroke) cost me €55 (it would have been €60 if I hadn't wangled a free charge off Gridserve!) and no need to be endangering myself by carrying jerrycans of fuel! 😂

  • If there are any 100kw or faster chargers from the midlands onward to get to Holyhead from Dover then ABRP does not know them. 50kw is all that is offered.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,988 ✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    ABRP always seemed to want to send me via Birmingham since there's HPCs there (Shell Armada) which are within range

    Wales doesn't seem well served by HPCs yet. Although the network is improving at a much faster rate than over here

  • Thanks. Birmingham is a bit too far for my modest EV :(

    It only wants to send me as far as Milton Keynes. If only I could be sent to Coventry (sic)