Zap-Map users rank UK charging networks in survey

The British mapping service Zap-Map has asked more than 1,500 users, which charge points they like best. The company’s annual electric vehicle charging network satisfaction rankings included 16 providers in 2020.

Zap-Map asked participating users to rate their experience on a 5-point Likert scale, including overall satisfaction and their level of satisfaction regarding reliability, ease of use, cost, and facilities or amenities.

Tesla retains its top spot followed by multi-brand network InstaVolt, which kept second-best for three years. In third place is Osprey (formerly Engenie). The latter was also among the companies that moved up the most. Compared with the previous ranking survey, Osprey leap-frogged five places; bp pulse (formerly BP Chargemaster/ Polar) dropped 5th to 13th place; and Swarco E.connect entered the list for the first time in what Zap-Map considers a “strong 5th position”.

In contrast, Ecotricity’s Electric Highway network was ranked with the lowest score. Zap-Map quotes one user commenting that “they are out of date and unreliable, with a monopoly on motorway site locations.” Talking about motorway locations, Ionity only made it to place 10, together with Engie.

While the survey may point out tendencies at best given the small sample size, Zap-Map as a mapping service has a varied user base. Dr Ben Lane, Co-founder and CTO at Zap-Map, also stressed that in a maturing market, EV drivers were becoming “very clear about the factors that make for a good charging experience, with reliability and ease of use being key priorities.”

Here, Zap-Map asked participants to rank the most important factors when choosing a charge point. Reliability remained the key factor (weighting 5.0), followed by ease of use (2.6), cost (2.3) and finally, the local amenities at the charging location (1.0).

Obviously, Tesla scored high in almost all categories – the charging process is controlled and seamless and still only open to Tesla drivers. The company only came in second on price, after ChargePlace Scotland where many chargers are free to use.

Simple payment per PAYG appeared a plus alongside accessibility, especially for those opting for the second winner, Instavolt. Zap-Map registers 460 rapid chargers across the country and says this makes InstaVolt the third-largest rapid network after Tesla (562 Superchargers) and bp pulse. Feedback from respondents highlighted the reliability of the InstaVolt chargers and the fact that there are generally two chargers at each location, providing a redundancy level.

For Osprey, that came in third, visibility and reliability, especially when it comes to AC charging, i.e. importance for Renault Zoe drivers, prove winning factors, even at only a little more than 170 charging sites registered with Zap-Map. Again easy payments using contactless and app access were quoted by users as key points.

For those networks at the bottom of the ranking, payment and ease of use prove diminishing factors, i.e. the lack thereof. Zap-Map uses Source London as an example for complicated pricing as it is charged on a per-minute basis rather than the more standard per kWh.

Ecotricity’s Electric Highway, a pioneer in rapid charging in the UK that once tried even to take on Tesla, seems to have lost some drive. Survey respondents commented that the units are old, poorly maintained, and frequently out of service. Most sites also only have one CCS connector with no redundancy or alternative provision. At the same time, with most chargers sited at motorway service areas, almost all locations have amenities, resulting in the network being ranked 3rd in this category. EV drivers also like that the chargers often revert to free vend if there is an issue and the 100% renewable energy promise. (Zap-Map survey)


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