Okay, so you’ve got your lovely new electric car and you’re about to hit the road. Sooner or later you’ll need to recharge your batteries, and to do that you’ll need to find yourself a public chargepoint. If, at this stage, you’re starting to break out into a cold sweat, fear not. The UK’s charging network is expanding fast, and thanks to ambitious installation programs from household names like bp pulse, electric car drivers have never had more choice.
This choice is one of the big advantages that comes with electric car recharging.
At a petrol stations, you pitch up, fill up and pay up at same price for your fuel, whether you’re hosing in £100 of Super Unleaded every day or a fiver’s worth of diesel once a month. With electric car owners have far more options - some of which could save you a handy sum.
50kW rapid chargers are cheaper to use than the 150kW units
We all know how mobile phone contracts work. Sign up to a monthly deal and you pay a much lower rate (or nothing at all) for your calls than you would with a pay-as-you-go phone. So if you chat a lot, the monthly plan will be a much better option. If you only use it once a week to order your Chinese takeaway then the PAYG deal is better. bp pulse is one of the biggest innovators in the UK charging market and offers electric car drivers three different ways of paying for their charge. All three methods have been developed to meet the differing needs of drivers and offers those who do a lot of miles the chance to make significant savings over the course of a year.
If you want to find out where your nearest charger is (and whether someone is using it), the is well worth a look before you head out. The map is also embedded in the bp pulse smartphone app and gives a live view of the network, along with pricing information .
Where does renewable energy come from?
Here are the answers for the bloke down the pub who says electric cars aren’t green.
There are several ways to pay for your charging
The regular user
If you use a public charger on a regular basis (and like the idea of having a number of free charge points available to you) then you should seriously investigate subscribing to bp pulse. A subscription currently costs £7.85 (incl. VAT) a month and comes with a card or key fob tag that can used at all bp pulse charge points to start charging sessions. This in itself is often more convenient than using an app to access points, especially in places with limited mobile phone network coverage, such as underground cap parks.
Subscribers pay the lowest kWh rates of all bp pulse charge point users, starting from just 12p per kWh (for a pulse 7 unit). Rapid charge prices start at 15p per kWh for a 50kW charger and if you’re using one of the brand’s growing number of new 150kW ultra-fast chargers, the cost is 27p per kWh.
The infrequent user
If you’re not a regular user of public chargers or prefer to use a variety of suppliers depending on your journey, bp pulse instant could represent the best way of using the brand’s 7,000 public chargepoints. There’s no monthly subscription to pay, but the costs per kWh are a little higher. On a 50kW rapid charger, you’ll pay 25p per kWh and on a 150kW ultra-fast charger, the cost comes in a 42p per kWh. All charges on basic access have a minimum spend of £1.20.
Starting and ending a charge is as simple as it gets. Once you’ve downloaded and set up the bp pulse app with your payment details, you only have confirm your location and you’ll be ready to charge.
Charging up frequently? A subscription could make sense
The once-in-a-blue-moon user
If commitment really isn’t your bag or you’re happy with the nomadic lifestyle of paying how you like, when you like, all bp pulse 50kW rapid and 150kW ultra-rapid chargers accept contactless payments from debit and credit cards. You can pay by card, smartphone and smartwatch - just tap the payment pad to start and end a charge and that’s it! If you opt for contactless, you’ll pay 30p per kWh on a 50kW rapid charger and 42p per kWh on a 150kW ultra-rapid charger.
You can also use the app to access a charger without registering – just choose the ‘sign in as guest’ option when opening the app.
Stuff to be aware of
Charging with bp pulse is as straightforward as it gets, and with more than 7,000 public charge points, you’ll never be far from the next one. To discourage electric car drivers from using the charge bays as parking spaces after charging, there’s a £10 overstay fee for cars that are plugged in for more than 90 minutes. Also be aware that if you’re using contactless, a pre-authorisation charge of between £15 and £30 is taken and then returned after you have finished charging. This can be a bit of a shock if you open your banking app, but it does get returned quickly and is needed to stop fraud.
The app will show you the different bp pulse chargers
Which is best for you?
This is where it gets a bit tricky, because it all depends on you, your car, the charger and how often you charge up. To work out which plan works best for you, you’ll need to do a bit of basic maths. Let’s say you have a 64kW Hyundai Kona, and use 40kWh of power at a 50kW rapid charger. If you’re a bp pulse subscriber, the charge will cost you around £6.00. Let’s say you charge every week, so your monthly total is £24.00. Add in the subscription cost and you’re looking at a total of £31.85.
Now, if you were to do the same amount of charging but without the subscription – bp pulse instant - you’ll be paying 25p per kWh, which means each charge session will cost you £10, which brings to monthly total to £40.00.
If you opted for contactless, the single charge would be £12 and the monthly total £48. As you can see, if you’re a regular user, you’ll save more with a bp pulse.
If we look at it from the point of view of a driver who only charges a small amount maybe once or twice a month (let’s say 30kWh in total), the cost for bp pulse instant would be £7.50 and for contactless £9.00. In this instance, instant would be the cheapest option.
Having a fob or RFID card speeds up connection