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Zapmap survey reveals the UK’s best en-route charging networks

 Published 5th December 2023
Driver Guides  Electric Vehicles 

If you’re currently driving an EV you’ve probably already gained a fair bit of experience using the public charging network. If you’re thinking of leasing one when you next replace your car this might also be quite useful too. Zapmap, the UK’s leading charge point mapping service, has just released its annual satisfaction rankings for high-powered, ‘en-route’ public charging networks in the UK. If you want to know the best places to charge your car, this is probably the definitive list.

Now in its sixth year, the league table is compiled from the results of Zapmap’s annual EV charging survey, the most recent one being conducted during October 2023.

The Zapmap survey, which is the most established and comprehensive survey of EV drivers in the UK, saw record responses from more than 4,000 electric car drivers. As part of the survey, respondents rate their overall satisfaction for the networks they use regularly, which is then used to rank each network out of a maximum of five stars. Users also rated their level of satisfaction with the networks in five key areas: reliability, ease of use, customer support, value for money, and payment options.

For the first time, Zapmap also introduced a new ‘Up and Coming Network’ accreditation for smaller networks that didn’t quite get the requisite number of responses but whose performance would have put them near the top of the table. The ‘Up and Coming Network’ this year is Evyve, a new network that already has over 100 charging locations and 220 devices across the UK.

For this year’s 2023-24 rankings, Zapmap has awarded a ‘Best EV Charging Network’ accreditation to the top scorer, with the others in the top five also receiving an ‘EV Driver Recommended’ title.

Melanie Shufflebotham, Zapmap Co-founder, said: “The results of our annual EV survey highlight that for many EV drivers availability and reliability of chargers remain a concern. That’s exactly why these rankings and our ‘Best EV Charging Network’ accreditations are important. They provide feedback directly from EV drivers and act as a solid indication of which networks are more dependable.”

The league table ranks Zapmap users’ most popular ‘en-route’ public charging networks in the UK, predominantly the providers offering high-powered charging devices for those looking to charge up as quickly as possible during longer journeys.

The top five en-route charging networks 2023/24

1st – Fastned – 4.5/5 Stars

With only 90 rapid and ultra-rapid charging devices across the country, Fastned has a smaller UK presence than some of the other players on the table, but this is changing. The European network is continuing to establish a strong foothold in the UK and has expanded its network by 50% so far this year. Fastned’s distinctive yellow canopies already feature at locations stretching from Sandwich to Dundee with many more likely to be popping up over the next few years.

Reliability and ease of use were key to Fastned’s position this year, with the network coming first in both categories, helping it to win this year’s ‘Best EV Charging Network’ badge. Fastned facilities certainly seem to be well received by EV drivers, with its iconic hub design, highly reliable charging and simple payment winning praise up and down the country.

  Tom Hurst, UK Country Manager at Fastned, said: "We are absolutely delighted that EV drivers have voted us the UK’s favourite EV charging station for the second year in a row.”

Key stats:

  • 60+ ultra-rapid devices and 30 rapid devices at almost 20 locations across the UK.
  • The network has grown by 50% in the UK so far this year.
  • Accepts contactless and digital payments via cross-network solution Zap-Pay.

2nd – MFG EV Power – 4.0/5 Stars

Coming in joint-first last year, MFG EV Power has moved to second place this time around. The ultra-rapid network from Motor Fuel Group, has around 560 charging devices up and down the country, and is aiming to install some 3,000 ultra-rapid devices by 2031. Its sites are typically at traditional petrol station locations and are installed in charging hubs with at least four charging devices.

As with Fastned, reliability and ease of use were key to MFG EV Power’s position this year. The network came in joint-second for reliability and second for ease of use, helping it to win an ‘EV Driver Recommended’ accreditation.

Martin Symes, EV Director at MFG EV Power, said: “The MFG EV Power team are humbled and honoured to be recognised in the Zapmap drivers’ survey.”

Key stats:

  • 560 ultra-rapid charging devices across 120+ locations, predominantly at fuel forecourts.
  • Aiming to install 3,000 ultra-rapid chargers by 2031.
  • MFG EV Power is a live Zap-Pay partner.

3rd – Osprey Charging – 4.0/5 Stars

This year, Osprey moved one place up the table to third with its network of around 740 rapid and ultra-rapid devices across the UK. Since last year, Osprey has doubled the number of chargers on its network and has also started to roll out some impressive charging hubs, such as its ultra-rapid hub at Salmons Leap in Devon. The network has won many fans with its focus on both accessibility and customer service.

Osprey comes in joint-second in terms of reliability this year and in third for ease of use, helping the network to win an ‘EV Driver Recommended’ accreditation. Feedback highlighted the reliability, ease of use, and quality service.

Ian Johnston, CEO of Osprey Charging, said: “We’re delighted to be named as one of the UK’s Recommended charging networks for the fourth year running. Over the last 12 months we have more than doubled the size of our nationwide network and placed a real emphasis on improving the ease of use and accessibility of our charging sites, as well as consistently delivering above 99% reliability.”

Key stats:

  • Around 130 ultra-rapid charging devices, more than 610 rapid devices and around 10 lower-powered devices across more than 300 locations.
  • Opened the South West’s largest ultra-rapid hub earlier this year in Devon.
  • Zap-Pay launch partner, offering simple cross-network charging.

4th – Ionity – 3.5/5 Stars

With 130 ultra-rapid charging devices across 22 locations, Ionity is currently one of the smaller en-route networks operating in the UK. However, the network is in the process of installing ultra-rapid charging hubs close to motorways and major A roads up and down the country. It also operates almost 3,000 charging points along European motorways in 24 countries and that experience is definitely clear to see.

This year Ionity moves up a place to fourth. The network came in joint-third place for both reliability and joint-fourth for ease of use. It also scored well on customer support and value for money.

Key stats:

  • 130 ultra-rapid charging devices across 22 locations.
  • Expanding its UK charging network, with more than 10 locations currently in construction.
  • Recently partnered with Village Hotels to open hundreds of UK ultra-rapid devices.

5th – InstaVolt – 3.5/5 Stars

With almost 1,300 rapid and ultra-rapid charging devices across the country, InstaVolt has the largest rapid network in the UK. InstaVolt provides rapid and ultra-rapid chargers with simple contactless payment across sites from Scotland to Cornwall. The breadth, reliability, and continued expansion of InstaVolt’s network was clear to see, with respondents noting that the network is “Plentiful and generally reliable” with “More available in hometown and rural regions” than other networks.

InstaVolt came in joint-third place for both reliability and joint-fourth for ease of use, dropping from an overall position of third to fifth position this year and winning an ‘EV Driver Recommended’ accreditation.

Key stats:

  • Almost 1,300 rapid and ultra-rapid charging devices across 560 locations.
  • Largest en-route charging network in the UK.
  • Find InstaVolt devices at Costa Coffee, KFC, Starbucks, and McDonalds outlets as well as retail parks, gyms, and service stations.

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