Free Electric Car Charging Points Near Me

Free Electric Car Charging Points Near Me

Electric vehicles are soaring in popularity in Britain, with over 200,000 battery electric cars now on UK roads. But while owning an EV provides savings on fuel and tax, you still need to charge it! Fortunately, the UK’s public charging infrastructure is growing rapidly.

For EV owners looking to minimize charging costs, dozens of retailers now offer free electric car charging facilities to attract loyal, eco-conscious customers. Read on to find all the best locations for free public EV charging near you.

The Rise of Free Car Charging for Marketing Purposes

Providing free electric vehicle charging is an increasingly popular marketing tactic for UK businesses. Offering free EV charging allows companies to:

  • Attract modern, tech-savvy customers who own electric cars
  • Increase customer dwell time in store parking lots, boosting sales
  • Build a green, eco-friendly brand image
  • Gain public visibility as supporters of electric vehicle adoption
  • Incentivize employees to drive electric cars with workplace charging
  • Qualify for UK government EV charging infrastructure grants

With public policy strongly encouraging EV uptake, expect many more businesses to install free chargers on their premises as demand grows.

Finding Free Charging Locations Near You

Fortunately, a number of apps and online maps make it easy to locate free public EV charging stations:

  • Zap-Map – The most comprehensive UK EV charging map, with filters for charging speed, network, and pricing
  • ChargeMap – User-friendly maps of charging locations, can filter by free charging points only
  • PlugShare – Crowdsourced EV charging maps with reviews and photos from other users
  • Google Maps – Many EV charging sites are now indexed on Google Maps for easy navigation
  • Apps like CHARGE and Nextcharge – Offer turn-by-turn directions to charging sites

Checking these resources is the easiest way to find your closest free public charging stations. But be sure to double check that charging is free before plugging in.

Finding Free Charging Locations Near You
Finding Free Charging Locations Near You

Major Retail Stores Offering Free EV Charging

Here is an overview of some of the top retail chains now providing free electric vehicle charging facilities for customers:

Tesco Extra

The UK’s largest supermarket chain provides free EV charging at over 600 Tesco Extra branches. With chargers in every region, Tesco is the most widespread source of complimentary EV charging while grocery shopping.

Lidl

Discount supermarket Lidl has installed free rapid electric vehicle chargers capable of adding 100 miles of range in just 30 minutes at select new store locations, with plans for over 300 charging points.

IKEA

The iconic Swedish furniture retailer offers free EV charging at all IKEA stores in the UK. With chargers conveniently located in the parking lot, you can charge your EV for free while shopping.

Halfords

The popular automotive and bike shop provides free electric vehicle charging at nearly 300 Halfords store locations across the country. Chargers are sited in prime parking spots near the store entrance.

Bicester Village

This major luxury outlet shopping destination in Oxfordshire offers free EV charging for customers in partnership with Tesla. Shoppers can charge their electric car charging for free while browsing 160 boutiques.

McDonald’s

Select McDonald’s franchises have installed free-to-use electric car charging points in their car parks. While availability is limited, keep an eye out for complimentary EV charging when grabbing a meal.

Budget Hotel Chains

Hotel brands like Premier Inn, Travelodge and Ibis Styles offer free EV charging at select properties to attract eco-conscious travelers. Charging availability varies by location.

Major Retail Stores Offering Free Ev Charging
Major Retail Stores Offering Free EV Charging
LocationDetail
Supermarket Car ParksHundreds of major grocery chains like Tesco and Sainsbury’s offer free EV charging.
Council Car ParksLocal city and town councils provide free EV charging in public car charging parks and park & ride lots.
IKEAFree EV chargers at all IKEA store parking lots in the UK.
Electric Highway7-22kW AC chargers at motorway service stations are free for up to 2 hours.
Places For free charging points in uk

Free Charging at Motorway Service Stations

All major motorway service stations now offer electric vehicle charging. While not free, most provide free parking for charging customers:

Moto – 30 minutes free parking for charging Moto customers
RoadChef – 30 minutes free parking for EV charging
Welcome Break – 1 hour free parking for Welcome Break EV chargers
Extra MSA – 30 minutes free parking for electric vehicle charging

Check provider websites to confirm current offers before charging on a long trip. Time parking to avoid fees.

Local Opportunities for Free Charging

Beyond national retail chains, many local businesses are also embracing free EV charging:

  • City councils and local authorities often provide free public EV charging to encourage adoption.
  • Independent supermarkets, garden centres and leisure facilities sometimes offer complimentary charging.
  • Eco-friendly attractions like botanical gardens and nature reserves occasionally provide free chargers for visitors.
  • Register with Chargepoint Network for free charging at its public stations funded by advertising.
  • Universities and workplaces sometimes permit free EV charging for staff, students and visitors.

Exploring your neighbourhood can uncover free local EV charging gems. But always charge responsibly and avoid overstaying time limits when charging is in high demand.

Local Opportunities For Free Charging
Local Opportunities for Free Charging

Tips for Using Free Public EV Charging

To avoid fees and get the most from free electric vehicle charging facilities:

  • Carefully check charging is free before connecting – some charge post-parking period
  • Note time limits – usually 2-3 hours free parking while charging
  • Fully charge before leaving – avoid partly charging then paying for remaining time
  • Be considerate of other drivers waiting when busy – avoid charger hogging
  • Spend time in the host shop when possible – boosts the business case for free charging
  • Report faulty chargers via apps – helps keep chargers operating optimally
  • Provide positive reviews of good experiences – encourages more free charging locations

Free public charging provides the cheapest option for keeping your EV powered on the go. With some planning, regular free charging can effectively eliminate your EV fuel costs!

The Future of Free EV Charging

The availability of complimentary electric car charging looks set to grow substantially in coming years as owning an EV in the UK goes mainstream. Already, over 40% of public charging points offer free charging, according to Zap-Map data.

With government plans to phase out new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, demand for charging infrastructure will continue rising sharply. More businesses are expected to offer free charging as an incentive for customers to stay loyal as they transition to electric motoring.

For savvy EV drivers of today, mapping out where to access gratis charging for your travels is a great strategy to maximize savings. As free public charging locations proliferate in the years ahead, running an electric car charging could become even more affordable.

best apps and websites for locating free electric vehicle charging locations

Zap-Map – This is likely the most comprehensive and user-friendly site for finding EV charging. It allows you to filter chargers by speed, network, payment type, and more. The free filter is great for only showing free locations.

PlugShare – This app has crowdsourced info and reviews on thousands of charging locations added by users. You can filter the map by free stations only. Helpful for spotting newer or local chargers.

Open Charge Map – An open source charging location map, with data on over 12,000 UK stations. Easy to filter for free charging sites. Also shows charger types and power levels.

Chargemap – Chargemap is especially good for Europe-wide charging maps. You can toggle the map to only display free charging points, and see useful data like kW power and connector types.

Apps like CHARGE and Nextcharge – These apps make locating and navigating to charging sites easy with turn-by-turn directions. Can search by charging speed or price.

Google Maps – Google now indexes many public EV charging locations. You can search “EV charging near me” and filter for free stations.

FAQs

Q: Are free electric car chargers slow?

A: Not always – many free chargers are now 7-22kW, which can add 20-30 miles of range per hour. Rapid chargers also offer free periods.

Q: Where can I find EV chargers that are always free?

A: Supermarkets, council car parks, IKEA stores, and some workplaces offer free electric car charging consistently.

Q: Do I need a membership for free public EV charging?

A: Some networks like BP Pulse and Instavolt provide free charging for members. But many locations offer free pay-as-you-go charging.

Q: How do I find free EV chargers near me?

A: Use apps like Zap-Map, PlugShare and Open Charge Map to locate free public chargers in your area.

Q: Can anyone use Tesla Superchargers for free?

A: No, only Tesla owners can use Superchargers for free. But Tesla plans to open some up for non-Tesla EVs soon.

Q: Do all EV charging networks offer some free charging?

A: Most networks provide 30-60 minutes of free charging before session fees apply. This allows for short free top ups.

Q: Is EV charging free if businesses validate parking?

A: Sometimes – validated parking may include free access to any EV chargers available in the car charging park.

Q: Will free public EV charging disappear in the future?

A: Unlikely – innovations like ads, data monetization and demand response programs may subsidize free charging.

Q: Does leaving my EV plugged in after it’s fully charged cost money?

A: Leaving it connected after full charge completes will not incur any fees at free public chargers.

Conclusion

In summary, a growing number of retailers, hotels and local businesses across the UK now provide free EV charging facilities to attract modern, eco-conscious customers. Making use of free public charging wherever possible can drastically

reduce the running costs of electric car charging ownership. With handy smartphone apps and maps, locating your nearest free chargers is easy. As electric vehicle adoption accelerates, expect even more destinations to offer free charging perks to loyal patrons.

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