Chargers come in three main types:
- Slow chargers: Are usually found in domestic settings or small workplaces and provide approximately 15 miles of range per 1 hour of charging.
- Fast chargers: Can be found in some of the same places as slow chargers, but also in more public locations such as hotels, car parks and visitor destinations. These will provide between 30 and 80 miles of range per 1 hour of charging.
- Rapid chargers: Can be found in some of the same places as fast chargers, but also on route stops e.g. at service areas and will provide approximately 150 miles of range per 1 hour of charging.
Charge Place Scotland provides information about free-to-use public chargers across Scotland, including location, size and availability, whilst resources such as Zap Map and carwow provide information about all chargers throughout the UK across networks and regardless of whether they are free-to-use or not.
It is worth using these online tools to check that:
- The charger you intend to use is working
- The connector type matches your vehicle (there are three main types – Type 2, CCS and CHAdeMO)
- Whether the chargers provide AC or DC current (many vehicles will charge faster using DC than AC - you will need to check the charging capability of your own vehicle)
- How many chargers / connectors there are at your preferred location, in case one or more is occupied
Most public charge points will require a membership card, mobile app or online access regardless of whether they are free or not – very few currently operate a direct “pay as you go” mechanism for credit / debit cards, however this may change in future.
There are approximately 40 different charger networks shown on Zap Map, however the majority in Scotland use the Charge Place Scotland network so this is the best membership to get in Scotland.
For non-free chargers, pricing structures vary – some involve membership fees and some do not. For example, Polar (the UK’s largest network) charge a monthly fee plus a price per kWh to charge, with a different pricing structure for non-members.