As electric vehicles (EVs) become increasingly popular, understanding the costs and availability of charging stations is essential for EV owners. This guide will explore the factors that influence charging costs, the major charging networks in the UK, and how to find free charging stations.

Factors Affecting Charging Costs

The cost of charging an electric car depends on various factors, including the car’s size, model, and make, as well as the location of the charging station. Charging at home is influenced by the energy provider, the kWh of the home charging system, and the electric car itself. The UK government’s energy price guarantee caps electricity at around 30p/kWh. Charging at work is often free or heavily discounted, while public charging points are typically not free, with prices ranging from 45-80p per kW.

Major Charging Networks in the UK

Several major charging networks operate in the UK, including BP Pulse, Shell Recharge, and Pod Point. These networks offer a variety of charging options, from rapid chargers to slower, more affordable options. Some electric cars are cheaper to charge than others due to their smaller batteries, making it important to research the most cost-effective options for your specific vehicle.

Finding Free EV Charging Stations

Approximately 11% of EV chargers on ZapMap’s live map are free, with Scotland boasting the highest number of free EV charge points. Free EV chargers can be found in locations such as supermarkets, car parks, dealerships, hotels, retail and leisure car parks, and workplaces. Zap Maps live map offers a free filter to help locate free EV charging stations, but be aware that some free charge points may have access restrictions.


Understanding the costs and availability of EV charging stations is crucial for electric vehicle owners. By considering factors such as the car’s size, model, and make, as well as the location of the charging station, you can make informed decisions about where and when to charge your vehicle. Familiarizing yourself with the major charging networks in the UK and utilizing resources like ZapMap’s live map can help you locate free and affordable charging options, ensuring a smooth and cost-effective EV ownership experience.