You’d be forgiven for thinking that electric car chargers are thin on the ground, but nothing could be further from the truth. At last count, there were around 44,000 charging connectors in the UK, spread across nearly 26,000 chargers in 16,000 locations.
As we move toward the 2030 ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars, the government’s plan is that nobody will be more than 30 miles from a rapid charging station by 2025.
So, how do you locate your nearest electric car charger?
One of the first places to start, especially if you’re considering the purchase of an electric car, is the Zap-Map website. Its map of charging points shows the true extent of the UK charging network.
It’s not too dissimilar to the sight that greets you when you use one of those aircraft tracking apps to view flights surrounding major international airports.
The interactive map allows you to zoom in using a city, town, village or postcode, then there are several filters you can use to narrow the search. These include connector types (rapid, fast and slow), charging network (such as Ionity or BP Chargemaster), location type, and whether payment is required.
Any problems with the charging network are likely to be reported by Zap-Map users, which gives it a community feel. The map is also available as an app on Apple and Android smartphones, plus Zap-Map has launched a version on Google Assistant using voice commands.
Open Charge Map
The Open Charge Map website – which is also available as an app – is a good alternative to Zap-Map. Crucially, the Open Charge Map is a global resource, so it will come in handy if you’re planning a road-trip abroad with an electric car.
Again, you can search via a city, town, village, postcode or zipcode, and there’s a useful comments section to allow users to record their experience with the charging point.
The map will even tell you if the charging point is operational, although we wouldn’t want to rely too heavily on this function.
Google Maps also has the ability to locate electric car charging points. Not only can you find the nearest charger – or points along a chosen route – you also have the ability to add the plug used by your electric vehicle into the preferences.
By doing this, you’ll only see charging locations that are compatible with your vehicles. Six plugs are covered: J1772, CCS (Combo 1), Type 2, CCS (Combo 2), CHAdeMO and Tesla.
It’s worth noting that the search results aren’t as comprehensive as the resources listed above, however.
Many electric cars offer the opportunity to locate your nearest electric car charger via the infotainment system and/or a connected app. For example, the Renault Zoe uses TomTom data to offer information on traffic delays, the weather and charging locations.
Meanwhile, Tesla charging stations can be viewed via the car’s navigation system and by using the Tesla ‘Find Us’ map. Cleverly, all Teslas have a built-in Trip Planner, which provides a route to your destination, taking into account the Supercharging stops along the way.
The Mini Electric and Vauxhall Corsa-e also include the find-a-charger facility, but the ability to locate a charger on the move is likely to become commonplace in the future.
Last year, the Department for Transport announced that it had started work on making real-time electric charging point data available to third parties. Not only will drivers be able to see the relevant locations, they’ll also be able to pinpoint the chargers which are in use.
Of course, the nearest electric charging point should be closer to home. You should consider fitting a wallbox to your property, which will provide a safer and faster charge than a domestic plug socket.
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