Zap-Map, the UK’s leading charge point mapping service, has released its annual public charging network satisfaction rankings, with Fastned and MFG EV Power – two ultra-rapid charging networks providing reliable charging hubs – coming in joint first place.
Now in its fifth year, the league table comes from Zap-Map’s annual EV charging survey conducted in September 2022. The survey, which is the most established and comprehensive survey of EV drivers in the UK, saw record responses from more than 4,300 EV drivers.
This year, Zap-Map is again awarding a ‘Best EV Charging Network’ accreditation to the top scorers, with the others in the top five also receiving an ‘EV Driver Recommended’ title.
As part of the survey, respondents rated their overall satisfaction for the networks they use regularly, which is then used to rank each network out of a maximum of five stars. They 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.
In joint-first place overall this year are two ultra-rapid networks, Fastned and MFG EV Power. The two networks – which both provide hubs with multiple chargers at each location – scored particularly highly for reliability and ease of use, and they both secure the ‘Best EV Charging Network’ badge.
Green Car Guide includes Fastned’s charging curve graphs in our EV reviews in order to show potential buyers how charging speed at a rapid charger drops off.
Taking third place this year is rapid network InstaVolt, while Connected Kerb and Osprey come in joint fourth – meaning all three networks earn the ‘EV Driver Recommended’ title.
The table below shows the full list of Zap-Map users’ most popular public EV charging networks in the UK.
Image above shows Zap-Map user ratings for UK public EV charging networks
This year there are six new entrants to the league table. European operator Fastned, which has recently been expanding its UK charging network, has opened a handful of ultra-rapid hubs this year – and enters the list in joint-first place.
On-street provider Connected Kerb has shot into joint-fourth position, after rapid growth this year has seen its network expand to more than 1,000 chargers. Zap-Pay partner Mer also makes the league table for the first time, coming joint-seventh alongside Pod Point and ubitricity.
Be.EV, VendElectric and Dragon Charging are new entrants to the league table too, coming in at joint-10th, joint-12th, and joint-15th respectively.
It is also worth highlighting that ChargePlace Scotland – which holds joint-12th place overall – takes first place for cost, thanks to many of its extensive network of charge points currently being free to use.
Significantly, two networks to have slipped down the table since last year are GRIDSERVE Electric Highway and GeniePoint. From joint-fifth last year, GRIDSERVE Electric Highway now comes in at joint-10th, while GeniePoint has dropped from 11th place last year to 19th position overall. The two networks, which both operate a large number of chargers across the country, came lower down in terms of reliability than last year – an area both operators are working hard to improve upon.
Melanie Shufflebotham, Co-founder & COO at Zap-Map, said: “Already this year we’ve seen huge change across the industry, from strong EV sales through to high growth in ultra-rapid infrastructure, and of course significant price fluctuations at the charge point due to rising energy costs.
“Despite this, it’s clear that factors such as reliability and ease of use continue to be the most important in contributing to a good charging experience. These should be top priorities across all the UK’s public charging networks.
“However, the Zap-Map survey shows that while many networks provide a dependable, easy-to-use service, others have room for improvement. As EVs increasingly enter the mainstream, it’s crucial that collectively we make public charging as simple and reliable as possible.”
2022 has continued to see significant growth in the number of new EV drivers across the country, despite supply chain issues hampering the automotive sector overall. There are now around 600,000 pure-electric cars now on UK roads, roughly 200,000 new EV drivers this year, with a parallel increase in the charging infrastructure that supports them.
The UK now has almost 36,000 charging devices, an increasing proportion of which are ultra-rapid chargers ideal for longer journeys. Indeed, as of October there has been a 76% increase in the number of ultra-rapid devices across the country since the same period last year.
While the number of new charging networks entering the market has slowed a little, the growth of high-power charging hubs across the country and the expansion of options for on-street charging has only increased.
Looking ahead, these trends are only expected to continue – with many networks receiving significant investment over the course of the year to facilitate expansion plans, and some even eyeing up markets abroad.
In joint-first place this year, and with a rating of 4.0 stars each, ultra-rapid charging networks Fastned and MFG EV Power share the top spot. It is no coincidence that both these networks provide ultra-rapid charging facilities in the form of eye-catching hubs around the country.
With only 60 rapid and ultra-rapid charging devices across the country, Fastned may currently have a small UK presence, but not for much longer. The European network is quickly establishing a strong foothold in the UK and has plans for rapid expansion. Watch out for many more of Fastned’s distinctive yellow canopies popping up over the next few years.
Reliability and ease of use were key to Fastned’s position this year, with the network coming in joint-first and first respectively. Feedback highlighted Fastned chargers as “Very reliable” and focused on the “superb charging experience.”
While respondents to the survey were overwhelmingly positive about charging on Fastned devices, some did pick up on the current limited coverage: “Only a few locations but superfast” and “Love their plug and charge service, but not many chargers in the South.”
At the very least, it seems Fastned’s Autocharge feature is a hit: “First class. Remembers my car, plug in, charge, unplug, go.”
Tom Hurst, Fastned’s UK Lead & Network Development Manager, said: “We are incredibly honoured to be voted joint-top CPO for 2022, particularly given that this award is decided by our customers.
“That means everything to us, and validates the efforts of our design, construction, and operations teams – all of whom are dedicated to rolling out the best customer experience possible through the EV revolution.
“EV drivers have rightly set the bar high, and we will continue to do our best to exceed expectations as we exponentially grow our UK network.”
• 30 rapid charging devices and 31 ultra-rapid devices at 12 locations across the UK
• Redbridge Park & Ride superhub opened this year near Oxford
• Soon to become a live Zap-Pay partner
MFG EV Power, the ultra-rapid network from Motor Fuel Group, has more than 220 chargers up and down the country, but is aiming to install some 3,000 ultra-rapid devices by 2031. A new network last year, MFG EV Power has moved up from second place to share the top spot with Fastned this time around. MFG EV Power 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 integral to MFG EV Power’s position this year, with the network coming in joint-first for reliability and second for ease of use. Feedback highlighted “Good reliable chargers” from MFG EV Power plus a “Good large number of chargers at each site”.
While some respondents described MFG sites to “Excellent. My favourite at present,” others noted price in their responses. “Very expensive but easily available,” said one. “Good, reliable but expensive,” said another. Although perhaps the pithiest was this one: “Their sites are brilliant, more please.”
The network also came in joint-first for customer support – largely due to the fact that its devices are located at service stations – and first for payment options, which include Zap-Pay, contactless and the MFG EV Power app.
“We’ve been working really hard to improve user experience over the last 12 months, so it’s great to see that our customers think the hard work is paying off,” said Ed Chadwick-Till, EV Director at Motor Fuel Group.
“Our aim is simple: to make charging easy, reliable, and convenient. We believe we deliver this through our ultra-rapid hub format, and thanks to continued customer support we’re planning to accelerate our roll-out for 2023.
“We’re thrilled to be voted the UK’s joint favourite charging network – thank you to all who voted for us.”
• 220 ultra-rapid charging devices across 43 locations; predominantly at fuel forecourts
• Aiming to install 3,000 ultra-rapid chargers by 2031
• MFG EV Power is a live Zap-Pay partner
With nearly 900 rapid and ultra-rapid charging devices across the country, InstaVolt has the largest rapid network in the UK (second if including Tesla Superchargers). The network, which provides reliable rapid and ultra-rapid chargers with simple contactless payment from Scotland to Cornwall, came in third place for both reliability and ease of use.
Respondents to the survey described InstaVolt devices as “Expensive but fast and reliable.” Others highlighted the breadth of the network too: “Great, reliable, easy PAYG and lots of chargers.”
While many “Never had a problem” and “can always trust that an InstaVolt site will have a working charger,” drivers did find a little room for improvement, referencing “Tight parking spaces sometimes.”
InstaVolt CEO Adrian Keen commented: “I’m once again delighted that InstaVolt has had such a strong showing in the annual Zap-Map driver survey.
“The results this year really demonstrate the increased competition in the industry, and ultimately it is the consumer who will benefit through greater network coverage, reliability, and ease of use.
“Such great progress in just 12 months shows that the networks are really ramping up their efforts and will be ready for 2030. InstaVolt is playing its part by targeting 10,000 chargers by 2032 across the UK.”
• 580+ rapid charging devices and 290+ ultra-rapid devices (up from 70 last year)
• Largest rapid charging network (after Tesla)
• Find InstaVolt devices at Costa Coffee, KFC, Starbucks and McDonalds outlets as well as retail parks, gyms and service stations
With a rating of 3.5 stars each, on-street charging network Connected Kerb and rapid charging network Osprey share fourth spot this year.
With nearly 1,200 on-street charging devices across the country, Connected Kerb has grown quickly over the past year – and enters the league table for the first time. This growth is only set to continue, with the network recently securing up to £110 million from Aviva Investors in order to support its plans of delivering 190,000 on-street EV chargers by 2030.
Connected Kerb scored the highest of any on-street network for reliability and it was a similar story for ease of use, with the network tabling a strong joint-fourth. Its only middling score was for payment options, due in all likelihood to its chargers not having contactless payment, although looking ahead the network will soon become a live Zap-Pay partner.
Most feedback highlighted Connected Kerb chargers as “Good” and “Excellent and Reliable.” However, others focused on payment options, stating that it is “Easy once you download the app,” or that they “Would prefer contactless payment.”
Chris Pateman-Jones, Connected Kerb CEO commented: “We are delighted to achieve such a high position in the Zap-Map rankings, a feat which is testament to the hard work and continued innovation of the Connected Kerb team.
“We are focused on remaining a trusted provider of reliable, affordable and accessible charging infrastructure solutions as we grow our network and fulfil our mission to bring sustainable mobility to everyone.”
• 1,131 fast charging devices and 7 slow devices across 308 locations
• Plans to install 190,000 on-street EV chargers by 2030
• Soon to become a live Zap-Pay partner
This year, Zap-Pay launch partner Osprey moves from third place last year to share joint-fourth position with Connected Kerb.
With more than 350 rapid and ultra-rapid across the UK, Osprey has committed to creating safe, accessible charging points – and recently launched a newly designed charge point to make this commitment a reality. The network has also partnered this year with British Garden Centres, and opened an important new hub at Paisley Pear in Northamptonshire.
Osprey comes in fourth in terms of reliability this time around, down from third position last year. As with last year Osprey tables a strong fourth for ease of use, although this year it shares the position with Connected Kerb.
Feedback highlighted the reliability of Osprey chargers and the space provided at its new chargers. As with other rapid providers, survey respondents highlighted high prices, but perhaps the best description is this one: “good locations and tend to work well.”
Ian Johnston, CEO at Osprey Charging, commented: “Osprey is delighted to be awarded the title of Recommended Network for the second year running by Zap-Map, recognising our commitment to building a reliable, accessible and easy-to-use rapid EV charging network.
“Between 2022 and 2023, Osprey will quadruple the size of its network to over 1,000 rapid chargers, and this recommendation from Zap-Map once again shows that we are building infrastructure that customers trust for their journeys.”
• More than 325+ rapid charging devices, 20 ultra-rapid devices and 8 fast devices across 206 locations
• National network located at high-quality sites such as Marston’s pub/restaurant chain, including recently opened Paisley Pear hub at Brackley
• Zap-Pay launch partner, offering simple cross-network charging
At the other end of the table, the key issues for the low ranking of the bottom three networks in the survey are the lack of reliability and ease of use. Pricing and the lack of amenities also play their part, however. The lowest ranking networks are described in more detail below.
This year, Zap-Pay partner GeniePoint moves from 11th place last year to 19th position overall, primarily due to its reliability score.
The network, operated by EQUANS EV Solutions, consists of around 800 rapid and fast devices, as well as a handful of ultra-rapid chargers. EQUANS, which has been working in partnership with Morrisons since 2019, recently announced that over half of Morrisons stores now have GeniePoint chargers. The company also opened its first GeniePoint charging hub at the supermarket’s Little Clacton store in Essex this year.
The network finds itself in 19th this year largely due to its performance for reliability and ease of use, coming third last and second last respectively. Feedback highlighted coming into contact with high numbers of broken GeniePoint chargers.
Dee Humphries, EQUANS EV Solutions Director at GeniePoint, said: “We fully acknowledge that we aren’t serving our customers in the way we expect currently, but we are taking concrete actions to get back to where we should be.”
This year, GeniePoint shares the second spot from the bottom with Shell Recharge and Source London for customer support, coming in slightly higher up the table for value for money and payment options. Change is on the horizon, however.
“We begin our roll out of contactless in this calendar year to make our chargers easier to use and we are also continuing to expand our interoperability partnerships to offer greater convenience,” Humphries continued.
“We have new hardware and maintenance partners that will begin rolling out before the end of the year to improve our reliability. It’s taken longer than we would like, but change will be delivered in the next 3 months.”
• 564 rapid charging devices, 225 fast devices and 5 ultra-rapid devices across 623 locations
• EV charging partner for Morrisons, installing and operating charge points at more than half of the retailer’s sites
• GeniePoint is a live Zap-Pay partner
The bp pulse network was one of first networks in the UK (under the Chargemaster brand) and is the third largest in the UK after ubitricity and Pod Point. Offering a mix of ultra-rapid, rapid, fast and slow charging devices, bp pulse’s network of almost 3,000 devices covers the length and breadth of the UK.
The network, which last year came 16th overall, achieves the same star rating of 2.5 but has now slipped into 20th position. It also earned a low ranking this year for reliability and ease of use, slipping a couple of places to come in the bottom two and bottom three respectively.
Survey respondents commented that units are starting to become unreliable, also noting price rises and poor customer service. There were also mixed comments about the network’s app and support line. bp pulse has acknowledged issues with reliability and has been investing heavily in both customer care and its charge point management platform, as well as its charge point portfolio.
In its response, the network highlighted investment in its existing network, as well as its growth plans.
“bp pulse is the UK’s most-used UK public charging network. We’re growing fast, and investing £1 billion over 10 years,” said a bp pulse spokesperson.
“As well as growing the number of high-speed chargers, we’re upgrading our network and investing in giving customers the service they expect.”
“Our own data shows strong and improving network reliability and customer satisfaction. We’re committed to continue to deliver improvements for our customers.”
• Mixed network of 134 ultra-rapid charging devices, 683 rapid devices, 1,801 fast devices and 174 slow devices across 1,561 locations
• Third largest public charging network, after ubitricity and Pod Point in terms of number of devices
• Second-largest rapid charging network (excluding Tesla Superchargers)
Charge Your Car’s UK-wide network, which is owned by bp pulse, consists of a mix of more than 440 rapid, fast and slow charging devices (less than last year’s total of 660).
The network, which came 17th overall last year, now finds itself in last place: 21st in the league table.
Charge Your Car earned a low ranking in all categories, coming in last place for reliability, ease of use, and customer support.
Feedback highlighted poor reliability, with chargers often being out of service, slow maintenance response and patchy customer service. Many respondents saw Charge Your Car as old and complained about the usability of the app.
Although in last place overall, Charge Your Car came in the bottom three for payment options, and slightly closer to the middle of the pack for value for money reflecting the fact that CYC allows the host site to set the pricing. This of course results in a variety of prices across different areas, with many devices being free to use.
• Mixed network of 28 rapid charging devices, 370 fast devices and 45 slow devices across 215 locations
• Charge Your Car allows the host site to set the pricing, resulting in a variety of prices across different areas