Best electric car charging stations 2024: owners rate their top 9 networks
The UK’s best public EV charging networks rated according to our Driver Power customer feedback
The electric car revolution is well underway, with EV sales booming over the last year. Even with the UK government pushing back the internal combustion engine (ICE) ban deadline to 2035, buyers remain undaunted, with all-electric models now making up more than 15 percent of new car purchases. But with new electric cars comes a need to charge them, and many networks of electric car charging stations have popped up in recent times to cater to this demand.
The quality, reliability, affordability and accessibility of Britain’s public EV charging network has never been more important, so once again our Driver Power survey has put the country’s chargepoint providers under the microscope. Using real world feedback from EV owners and drivers who use the charging networks regularly, our survey helps deliver a clear picture of the best and worst charger brands in the business.
Of course, these findings will be useful to those that have already made the leap into electrification, but it will also benefit buyers that have yet to make the switch. Regardless of future laws, the car industry has committed to drastically cutting its carbon emissions and so it’s likely that many will be ready to abandon ICE cars sooner rather than later. As a result, our results will reassure (or not, depending on the provider) potential new owners that they can make the change with confidence.
As ever, our survey respondents ranked each EV charging provider’s charger for ease-of-use, cost and charging speed. Crucially, they also rated every supplier for reliability, because there’s nothing more frustrating, or worse, if you’re left stranded with an empty battery and no way to charge. As with our Driver Power polls for the best cars, manufacturers and dealers, we then take these scores to deliver an overall ranking for each charging firm.
Best chargepoint providers 2023
1. Tesla Supercharger - 90%
- Charging costs: 1st place
- Charging speed: 1st place
- Ease of use: 1st place
- Reliability: 1st place
Another year and another crushing win for Tesla, which bagged a first place finish in all four of our categories and scored an impressive 90% overall (up from 83% in 2022). By concentrating as much on its Supercharger network as it does its cars, the American brand has delivered a near seamless EV ownership experience that takes the strain out of making the switch to electric power.
Better still, while in the past only Tesla drivers could benefit from the (now vast) Supercharger network’s incredible charging speed, reliability and ease of use, the company has recently opened up selected sites to owners of other EVs. That said, if you want access to all chargers then you’ll still need a Model 3, Model S, Model X or Model Y.
New Tesla buyers no longer get free Supercharging for life but it seems those that have to pay are still impressed by the network. Account details are stored in the car, so there’s no need to fiddle around with apps or cards when you pull up to a charger.
2. MFG EV Power - 82%
- Charging costs: 6th place
- Charging speed: 2nd place
- Ease of use: 2nd place
- Reliability: 2nd place
Consistency was the key for MFG EV Power, which failed to secure a top spot in any category, but scored highly enough across the board to secure a second place finish here. The independent company poured a substantial £50 million in its network of over 100 charging hubs over the last 12 months, and it appears the investment is paying off.
MFG now has over 500 ultra-rapid chargers at sites dotted around the UK, and users are impressed with how quick and straightforward the brand’s units are to use, not to mention how reliable they also are. However, the cost of charging and niggles with the firm’s smartphone app lost the firm some points, while a greater number of locations wouldn’t go amiss.
3. Instavolt - 81%
- Charging costs: 8th place
- Charging speed: 3rd place
- Ease of use: 4th place
- Reliability: 4th place
It’s another podium finish for Instavolt in 2023. And while it matches its third place finish of last year, its overall satisfaction rating has jumped from 77% to over 80 for the first time. As before, it remains one of the more expensive charging choices (as evidenced by its 8th place result for costs), but it counters this with its transparent, flat-rate billing and the fact there’s no need to subscribe - simply turn up and plug in.
You’ll need to check compatibility, but most EVs can use these points, and Instavolt came out ahead of other brands in terms of speed, ease and reliability. These plus points do make it easier to overlook the higher pricing - especially as it’s still cheaper than refilling a petrol or diesel car - while many of its units are handily located at motorway service station sites.
4. Ecotricity/ Gridserve - 66%
- Charging costs: 3rd place
- Charging speed: 5th place
- Ease of use: 3rd place
- Reliability: 4th place
A big turnaround in form has seen Gridserve jump from 9th to 4th place in rankings. It’s clear the ambitious provider has made big gains across the board, not least in terms of charging costs and ease-of-use, where it managed to bag a pair of third place finishes in the final reckoning.
Gridserve’s purchase of the Ecotricity network in 2021 helped the network rapidly expand, and it’s been adding sites ever since, including its large Electric Forecourts. If the firm manages to improve its charging speeds and engineer a better smartphone app, then it could take even greater strides up the leaderboard next year.
5. Pod Point - 77%
- Charging costs: 5th place
- Charging speed: 7th place
- Ease of use: 5th place
- Reliability: 5th place
Pod Point is probably better known for its domestic EV chargers, but it has also expanded rapidly into the public charging market. It doesn’t offer the quickest top-ups (its fastest option delivers electricity at 75kW), but you’ll find many of its units handily sited at supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Lidl, as well as at various tourist destinations.
Unlike some rivals, Pod Point offers both AC and DC charging options, while customers were pleased with the reliability and cost of the service. Users also rated the firm’s smartphone app highly, placing it third overall.
6. GeniePoint - 76%
- Charging costs: 2nd place
- Charging speed: 6th place
- Ease of use: 7th place
- Reliability: 7th place
A two place drop in the rankings compared to last year won’t be music to the ears of GeniePoint top brass, but there are reasons to be cheerful. For starters, users placed the provider second only to Tesla for charging costs, suggesting that top-ups won’t cost you the earth. Better still, the handy locations of its chargers also earned it top category marks from drivers - although respondents did note there could be more units at each site.
Yet while GeniePoint scored strongly in some areas, it underperformed elsewhere. First time EV owners will most likely be put off by the poor scores for ease-of-use and reliability, while the firm’s customer service also left a little to be desired.
7. Ionity - 75%
- Charging costs: 9th place
- Charging speed: 4th place
- Ease of use: 6th place
- Reliability: 6th place
It’s one of the biggest charging service providers in Europe, but its performance with UK users is likely to get alarm bells ringing at Ionity HQ. Given the size of its network it’s no surprise to find the firm rated well for the number of chargers it offered, while 4th place finish for speed suggests customers don’t have to wait long for a battery top-up.
Still, they clearly pay the price for fast charging, with users placing Ionity at the bottom of our rankings for cost. And while there is no shortage of chargers at its sites, the locations are few and far between compared to most rivals.
8. ChargePlace Scotland - 68%
- Charging costs: 4nd place
- Charging speed: 9th place
- Ease of use: 8th place
- Reliability: 9th place
Unlike the other contenders in this list, ChargePlace isn’t a private company but is instead owned and operated by the Scottish Government. Aimed at making the country more accessible to EV drivers, users rated its chargers as affordable to use and were happy enough with the numbers of chargers available.
Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends for the publicly funded network, with its chargers ranked last for charging speed and condition by drivers. Worse still given the remote location of many of its units (a number are found in the Shetland Isles), respondents also handed the network a wooden spoon for reliability.
9. BP Pulse/ Chargemaster/ Polar - 68%
- Charging costs: 7th place
- Charging speed: 8th place
- Ease of use: 9th place
- Reliability: 9th place
Bigger doesn’t always mean better, as BP’s performance here proves. It remains one of the UK’s largest EV charging networks, with more than 7,000 units, but users continue to rate it one of the worst, too. In fact, drivers placed it at the very bottom of the rankings in five of our categories, including the crucial areas of reliability, customer service and ease-of-use.
Its highest score was for charging costs, but even then respondents only placed it in seventh, meaning there’s little for BP to cheer about. Given its size and the brand awareness of the BP name, these results are surprisingly poor.
Read our Driver Power guide to the best new-car manufacturers this year.
The new Renault 5 is here! EV supermini packs 249-mile range and retro looks
Vauxhall Corsa Electric price slashed by £5,550 with new Yes Edition
Dacia Spring UK debut: budget EV arrives with new style
Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Hot car deal: sporty Skoda Octavia vRS Estate for £278 a month
New Mercedes CLE Cabriolet released, costing from £53k