A poll of electric-car drivers has named the top 10 UK public charge-point operators rated highest for customer satisfaction.
Some 1,600 plug-in car users were asked to give a satisfaction score out of 100 for the 26 network operators currently available across the country.
Tesla came out on top for its Supercharger network, though this is only available to owners of the American firm’s relatively expensive vehicles.
Top rated chargers: A poll of electric car owners has named Tesla’s Supercharger network as the best in the UK
Feedback given to Zap-Map – which collects information about the nation’s charging infrastructure – by electric vehicle owners saw Tesla’s Superchargers receive a satisfaction score of 94.
Some 86 per cent of Tesla drivers who use the network said they were ‘very satisfied’ with the user experience, while another 10 per cent were ‘somewhat satisfied’ with the service.
Satisfaction ratings are based on a variety of factors, though reliability, speed, cost and overall facilities were most important to users.
While it topped the rankings, Tesla saw its overall ratings slip slightly compared to last year with a 6 per cent decline in satisfaction.
‘This may be a reflection of the loss of free charging for many Tesla owners and increasing pressure on the Supercharger network as the size of the Tesla fleet continues to rise,’ Zap-Map explained.
Tesla owners can currently plug into around 290 Supercharger installations in the UK, which have the fastest speeds of any network of up to 120kW and – for V2 Superchargers – 150kW following a software upgrade across Europe in August.
On top of that there are more than 550 Tesla Destination chargers, each with one connector per charge point.
Drivers gave the network their seal of approval due to good reliability, low charging costs and the already impressive UK coverage.
Zap-Map listed the results of the 10 public electric car charging operators with the highest satisfaction scores from owners
While Tesla came out on top, the Supercharge network is only available to owner’s of the brand’s expensive premium vehicles
However, only those who own a Tesla Model S, X or the recent Model 3 are allowed to use the Supercharger network, making its score redundant for a large proportion of the existing EV community.
The best wide-scale provider, according to the poll, is InstaVolt.
It has over 270 charging locations in the UK with around 540 connectors in total, all of which are pay-as-you go systems that can be accessed using a credit or debit card.
No subscription fee is required to use InstaVolt charge points – the majority of which are already contactless – and users do not need to carry a network-specific membership card.
Those who use them gave an overall rating of 86, with almost a third (64 per cent) very satisfied and another quarter (24 per cent) somewhat satisfied with the network.
InstaVolt, which currently has 270 charging locations currently across the UK, was voted the best network available to all electric vehicle owners
PodPoint was rated the third best in the poll of over 1,600 drivers of electric and plug-in hybrid cars
Third in the standings is Pod Point, which has more than 1,000 charging points and 1,800 connectors available across the UK.
These chargers are not all the same, though, with a mix of fast and rapid devices and a handful of slow units also still in service.
The majority of Pod Point units are now free to use, though some incur a pay-as-you-go charge.
Drivers will need a smartphone app to access them, with occasional older charging devices requiring a PodPoint membership card to start the charging process.
Zap-Map said PodPoint is the third most-used network of the survey sample, with 45 per cent of drivers saying they were very satisfied with the experience. Over a third (37 per cent) said they were somewhat satisfied.
The most-used operator, Polar – which is run by BP Chargemaster – was rated as the joint fifth best network.
Best public charger networks
1. Tesla Supercharger: 94/100
2. InstaVolt: 86/100
3. Pod Point: 79/100
4. NewMotion: 77/100
=5. Polar (BP Chargemaster): 73/100
=5. Shell Recharge: 73/100
7. ChargePlace Scotland: 72/100
=8. Engenie: 70/100
=8. GMEV (Greater Manchester): 70/100
10. GeniePoint: 69/100
BP Chargemaster’s Polar network is the most-used across the whole of the UK. It rated as the joint fifth best provider by users
Commenting on the survey, Dr Ben Lane from Zap-Map said: ‘EV drivers are very clear as to what makes for a good charging experience with ‘reliability’ being the number one priority.
‘EV users need to be able to access the whole of the UK network with confidence that the installed chargers will be working and available as advertised.’
He added: ‘EV drivers are increasingly savvy about the different levels of service offered by each of the UK’s charging networks and will change their driving routes to use those which offer the best service.
‘This suggests that the market is becoming highly competitive, with EV users happy to pay for quality, but avoiding networks which fail to provide a good charging experience.’
As for Ecotricity, which has around 680 connectors located at service stations on major roads and motorways in the UK, it failed to make it into Zap-Map’s top 10.
This isn’t at all surprising, given that many users have complained about the reliability of its chargers and increasing fees to access them.
It was announced last week that the government is set to inject a £70million investment into the public rapid charging network in the next five years, more than doubling the current availability.
Some 3,000 new super-quick chargers will be installed in the UK on top of the 2,000 already in place, with most expected to be located at motorway services.
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