Instavolt is the best electric vehicle (EV) charging network - according to the annual survey of public charging network users by EV mapping service Zap-Map - which put new entrant MFG into second place while BP’s pulse network slipped into the bottom three.
The league table, now in its 4th year, comes from Zap-Map’s annual EV charging survey, which sought feedback from more than 3,000 respondents and claims to be the most established and comprehensive survey of EV drivers in the UK. This year Zap-Map awarded a new ‘Best EV Charging Network’ accreditation to the top scorer, and ‘EV Driver Recommended’ badge given to the top three.
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 four key areas: reliability, ease of use, cost and facilities
InstaVolt scored particularly highly for reliability and ease of use, securing its ‘Best EV Charging Network’ badge.
New entrant to the league table, MFG EV Power came second with an overall rating of four stars. With more than 95 ultra-rapid charging devices at service stations across the UK, MFG EV Power is currently one of the smaller networks. However, the network is definitely one to watch, according to Zap-Map, with its planned £400m in 3,000 ultra-rapid 150kW and 350kW EV charging devices over the next 10 years.
It reported that MFG EV Power has clearly made a strong start. The network came in second place for both reliability and ease of use, thanks to reliable chargers and simple payment options, which include contactless and the MFG EV Power app. All of the network’s charge points will also become Zap-Pay-enabled by the start of 2022. Feedback highlighted the network’s facilities and reliable charging hubs.
Gridserve’s Electric Highway was another new network, which has both rolled out its pioneering electric forecourt in Braintree and also bought – and is in the process of upgrading – Ecotricity’s network of chargers. Gridserve Electric Highway came joint fifth overall and a ’noteworthy first place for facilities’.
Meanwhile, BP pulse has this year slipped into the bottom three, where it is also joined by BP pulse-owned network Charge Your Car. It also earned a low ranking for reliability and ease of use, coming in the bottom three and bottom four 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. Zap Map reported that BP pulse has acknowledged issues with reliability and has been investing heavily in both customer care and its chargepoint management platform, as well as its charge point portfolio, so improvements are expected next year.
Zap Map says it is worth noting that not all issues experienced by EV drivers can be attributed directly to the network, as they do not always own the chargers and set the tariffs.
The past year has seen a remarkable growth in the number of new EV drivers on the road and the charging infrastructure that supports them, reports Zap-Map: “Not only does the UK now have close to 30,000 charging devices, but we have also seen new networks entering the market, a high-growth in ultra-rapid chargers, the installation of charging hubs across the country and the growth of options for on-street charging. Looking forward to next year, all these trends are expected to continue with a high level of infrastructure investment committed by many networks.”
Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder and COO at Zap-Map, said: “Despite significant changes over the course of the year, there are some things that remain the same. EV drivers are clear about the factors that make for a good charging experience, namely reliability and ease of use – and these should be key priorities for the UK’s public charging networks.
“The Zap-Map survey shows that while this is being delivered by some, others are falling short and there needs to be improvement. As we move from the early adopters towards mass EV adoption, making public charging simple becomes more important than ever.”