Motorway services overtake supermarkets as most popular EV charging location, claims survey

Electric Vehicles
GRIDSERVE, pictured above, has overtaken Pod Point as network used by the highest number of drivers

Zapmap, the UK’s leading charge point mapping service, has released its results from a survey of electric vehicle (EV) drivers in the country.

The company’s annual EV charging survey, which was conducted in October 2023, saw record responses from around 4,300 drivers of pure-electric cars, known as BEVs (battery-electric vehicles). Now in its sixth year, the survey is the most established and comprehensive poll of EV drivers in the UK.

With owners of plug-in hybrid vehicles specifically excluded from the poll this year, Zapmap’s survey covers a broad spectrum of topics. These include the ratio of EV drivers with or without a home charger, the types of places where EV drivers typically charge,  and the motivations behind where drivers choose to stop and charge.

The survey shows, for example, that although 80% of respondents have a home charger, the vast majority of EV drivers continue to use public charging networks across the country.

Of these, national charge point operators GRIDSERVE, Pod Point and InstaVolt are used by the most respondents – with 36%, 34% and 34%, respectively, using them in the last six months.

As such, this year sees GRIDSERVE overtake Pod Point in terms of being the network used by the highest number of respondents on a regular basis – although most used does not necessarily equate to the highest satisfaction, as Zapmap’s recent charging network rankings demonstrate.

Says Jade Edwards, Head of Insights at Zapmap:

“The continued expansion of the UK’s public charging network affects organisations across the country in a whole range of different ways, and that’s why this comprehensive survey can really help to shine a light on the key trends for companies of all shapes and sizes.

“What’s more, with the number of pure-electric cars on UK roads now more than 950,000, the country’s public charging infrastructure needs to be able to cope with a diverse range of needs. This survey is therefore vital in helping the industry to understand both how the EV landscape is changing – from en-route provision through to destination and on-street charging – as well as what needs to happen to best satisfy these needs.”

Furthermore, the survey also shows that motorway services and EV charging hubs have displaced supermarket car parks as the most popular charging locations in the UK. This year, 55% of respondents indicated they regularly stop at motorway services to charge, while 47% do so at EV charging hubs – these are up from 48% and 34% respectively last year.

This reflects the increasing number of charging hubs – which Zapmap defines as groups of six or more rapid or ultra-rapid devices – that are opening across the country. At the end of November 2022, for instance, Zapmap data shows there were 99 open-access charging hubs, while at the end of November 2023 this more than doubled to 239.

In contrast, only 36% said they use supermarket car parks to charge their vehicles, down from 50% the previous year. The drop corresponds with the removal of many free-to-use chargers at supermarkets almost a year ago.

A summary of the key findings from Zapmap’s annual EV Charging Survey is now available to download while the full annual survey is currently available to purchase at an early-bird price before the end of January 2024.


Chris Price
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