Best and worst EV public charging providers revealed

The best and worst places for electric car owners to charge their vehicles have been revealed in a new survey.

Tesla’s Supercharger network came out on top, receiving an overall score of 89.8 per cent by respondents questioned as part of the study conducted by What Car.

Users rated it highly for its reliability, charging speed, ease of payment and value for money. However, Tesla’s Supercharger network – which operates more than 2,500 charging points across Europe and the Middle East – can only be accessed by Tesla owners, meaning that drivers of EVs from other brands must use other networks.

Of these, Instavolt came out on top. It achieved an overall score of 81.2 per cent – with users praising its ease-of-use and speed – while it was also the top-scoring network for reliability with a score of 92.6 per cent.

What Car spoke to 1,000 electric and plug-in hybrid owners, asking them to rate networks based on reliability, how easy they were to reach and park in and if they offered fast charging speeds. In addition, What Car staff then visited at least one charging point from the 12 providers to see for themselves how good they were.


Steve Huntingford, editor, What Car, said: “Our investigation highlights the significant differences between electric car public charging networks. Those that offer the fastest charging speeds are not necessarily the best to use, and some of the most affordable can also be the most inaccessible. As more people switch to EVs the demand for public chargers will increase, and EV owners really do need to shop around to find the best charging solutions.”

Despite scoring highest for location with 74.9 per cent, Gridserve’s Electric Highway was rated the worst for reliability with just 23.7 per cent. Having been previously operated by Ecotricity, the network, according to What Car, has become ‘rundown’.

Networks which allow drivers to tap and pay with a contactless payment card without the need to register were seen as the easiest to use, contrasting those with a lengthy sign-on process. Worst-rated was Charge Place Scotland, which has a long registration process and can only be accessed with a charging card – something that took 10 days to send out.