How To Pay At Electric Car Charging Stations?

Created on
September 11, 2022

Learn about paying for charging your car in public charging stations.

Examples of margins, padding, and borders
  • Key Points
  • • The Bonnet app is the best option that allows you to locate chargers, charge your EV, and pay for the service with the same app. While other network providers require separate apps for charging and for paying, Bonnet combines all of them and makes your charging experience better and easier.
  • • Other payment methods for EV chargers are credit or debit cards, network apps, and RFID cards. RFID cards are less common since most smartphones are equipped with an internet connection and NFC capability.
  • • 20% of all public chargers in the UK are free to use. They usually belong to small network providers, but you may also find some that belong to bigger companies.
  • • There are three charger types you can charge your car with: slow chargers that operate at 4kW/hour, fast chargers - between 7kW/hour and 22kW/hour, and rapid chargers that deliver electricity at up to 350kW/hour. Slow and fast chargers are most commonly used in homes, while rapid chargers can be found at charging hubs.

Today, more and more people are actively switching to electric vehicles, and for new drivers, it may take some time to get used to it and find out all the answers to their questions. One of the most important questions that pop up is how to pay for charging. While most drivers charge their cars at home, many of them still use public stations. In this article, we'll tell you all about paying for charging your EV on public networks.

There are several ways you can pay for public EV charging in the UK. We've listed all of them and given you some other information you should know as an EV owner.

Best Tip - Use Bonnet

While there are several ways to pay for EV charging, this is by far the most convenient one. Bonnet has changed the way EV drivers pay for car charging and made their lives a lot simpler. Before Bonnet, EV drivers had to download different apps for charging and payment processing for each network they used, and they ended up with cluttered home screens. But Bonnet merged all key networks into one app to make your charging experience easier and more pleasant. Bonnet's goal is to make your life easier when it comes to searching for the nearest available charging point and charging your vehicle. So far, Bonnet has partnered with 17 charging networks from all over Europe to create a cross-network payment service, and we're constantly working on bringing more networks into the loop.

Bonnet eliminates the need for you to juggle multiple charging station finder apps at the same time, and you'll never roll up to a charging point only to find that it's occupied or broken because we constantly monitor the condition of charging stations. And if you don't want to set up an account - no worries, you can download the app and use it only to locate the nearest charger.

Paying For EV Charging With Bonnet

Bonnet offers the lowest EV charging prices out there. Since we operate all over Europe, our charging prices vary depending on the country you're in. For instance, if you're in the UK, you can charge your car at rates as low as 40p/kWh – even for rapid charging. Bonnet displays rates in your local currency. If the country you select is not listed on the app, then Bonnet is not available there at the moment.

No matter where you are, you can choose to pay-as-you-go or go with the Bonnet Refill pricing plan, which allows you to pay for charging upfront and save even more money. 

If you pay for charging your car in advance with the Bonnet Refills option, you will get a set price per kWh. Even if you exceed the amount of power included in your Refill, all extra kWh will be charged at the lower locked-in rate. In short, the more kWh you buy in advance, the less you pay. And if you don't use up all the kWh in your pre-paid package, they will roll over to the next month. You can choose a Refill Volume that suits your lifestyle and charging habits, and Bonnet will automatically charge you every month and add a new Refill package to your account. You can also cancel at any time (but from our experience, users never want to).

With Bonnet, you can monitor and charge your car at truly competitive fixed prices and forget about getting a shocking bill after charging. 

And if you don't use Bonnet for some reason or it's not available in your country yet, here are other ways you can pay for charging your EV:

Pay For EV Charging With A Credit Or Debit Card

Charge point providers strive to make the payment process easier for EV drivers, which is why most key networks take contactless credit or debit cards. Most people are now used to contactless card payment, and the UK government released a mandate that all new rapid chargers should accept contactless payment, so you can expect this payment method to become more widespread at rapid chargers in the next few years. 

Keep in mind that contactless payment is often the most pricey option for customers since it's the most expensive option to install for charge point owners. Also, while charge point operators are making easy payment methods more accessible, contactless payment is still mostly available only on rapid and ultra-rapid devices. And it'll likely remain so because of the cost of installation. Plus, the existing fast chargers are very unlikely to get that update any time soon. Also, be aware that with contactless payment, you won't receive live updates on your car's charge levels or get payment receipts.

Pay With A Network App

All charging networks offer the option of paying as you go. Many of them use Zap-Pay or another contactless system, while with others, if you want to pay for charging, you'll be asked to download the network app and sign up for an account. Sometimes, customers will be asked to transfer a minimum amount of credit to their account in order to get started, which can be very inconvenient and time-consuming.

RFID Card

Some networks accept RFID cards that can be used to pay for charging your EV. These networks are equipped with radio frequency identification technology that allows communication between your card and the card reader using a radio frequency instead of a magnetic strip. You can start charging your car simply by tapping your RFID card against the card reader, but you will need to re-register your RFID card and connect your online account online to the card.

RFID cards are becoming less popular today since most smartphones have an internet connection and NFC capability, but it's still an alternative method of payment. 

Other Ways To Pay For EV Charging 

Depending on the network, you may also be able to pay by scanning a QR code with your smartphone. This will take you directly to the payment page. Some networks also support vehicle-to-charger communication that enables automatic charging and billing. These networks have an Autocharge system that automatically recognises your car as soon as you register it and then automatically starts the charging process. 

Free Electric Car Charging In The UK

While in most cases, you'll need to pay for charging your car, around 20% of all public charging points in the UK are free to use. Many of them belong to small charge networks, but you can still find some free EV charging opportunities on larger charging networks such as ChargePlace Scotland and Pod Point.

Now that we've gone over the payment methods for EV charging, let's take a look at different charger types. Chargers charge your car in kilowatts (kW), with the power ranging from 3kW to 350kW - the higher the number, the quicker the charging rate. If you use a basic charger, let's say a 40kW one, your car will need approximately 12 hours to get to a full charge. Ultra-rapid chargers, however, can charge your car up to 80 per cent of a full charge within 30 minutes.

EV Charger Types

There are three main EV charger types - slow, fast, and rapid (sometimes referred to as ultra-rapid chargers with 350kW in power). Slow and rapid chargers are the most common options for at-home use or on-street charging posts. Rapid chargers, on the other hand, can mostly be found at service stations or charging hubs. Depending on the network and the charging station type, some of them are tethered and work just like a petrol pump where you plug the attached cable into your car, while for others, you will need to bring your own cable.

Slow Charger

Slow chargers are typically used at home and are three-pin plugs that charge your vehicle at just 3kW per hour. This charger type works fine for plug-in electric hybrid vehicles, but if you own a pure EV model, you can expect the charging process to take up to 24 hours. You may also find some street-side charging posts that charge at this rate, but most of them have been upgraded to deliver 7kW per hour (which is considered a fast charger). Most on-street posts use a Type 2 connector since the EU released a regulation in 2014 that demanded this connector to become the standard on all EVs.

Fast Charger

Fast chargers deliver alternating current (AC) at between 7kW and 22kW per hour, and they are becoming more and more popular in the UK, especially for at-home use. These chargers replenish the battery twice as quickly as slow ones. If, however, you want one of them installed at home, it will need to be done by an electrician. If you want a wallbox that delivers 22kW per hour, you'll need to upgrade your wiring to a three-phase supply. 

You can find fast public chargers, but they are usually untethered, so you need to bring your own cable. When charging at these posts, you'll pay as you go, either by creating an account with the charging network or using contactless payment.

Rapid Charger

Rapid chargers are the ones you're most likely to come across at public charging stations. They deliver power at a rate between 43kW and 150kWper hour and can operate both on direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). Some of them can replenish 80% of the battery's level in under half an hour. 43kW AC units use a type 2 connector, but all DC chargers use a larger Combined Charging System (CCS) plug. However, cars fitted with CCS can also work with a Type 2 connector and can charge at a slower rate. 

Most DC rapid chargers deliver power at 50kW per hour, but more and more chargers have been released that work at a charging rate of between 100 and 150kW per hour. Shell, for example, has some 175kW devices and Tesla's latest chargers deliver power at 250kW per hour. These are also referred to as V3 chargers. Ionity and Gridserve recently introduced 350kW chargers all across the UK. Keep in mind that not all EV cars can accept power at this rate, so check what rate your model can handle.

Paying For At-Home Charging

If you charge your car at home with a three-pin plug socket or a wallbox, the cost of charging will be added to your next electricity bill, so you don't need to take any extra steps to complete the payment. Keep an eye on different grants and tariffs offered by either The Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) or electricity providers to lower your bills.  

Examples of margins, padding, and borders

FAQ

What is the best way to pay for electric car charging?

The easiest and most convenient way to pay for EV charging is to use the Bonnet app. Bonnet operates with 17 major network providers, with more joining every day. It allows you to monitor your charging and pay for it all in one app, which relieves you from the hassle of downloading different apps for different network operators.

Can I charge my EV for free in the UK?

Yes, you can charge your electric car for free in the UK in some locations. Around 20% of all public chargers across the UK are free to use. They usually belong to smaller network operators and use slow chargers, so if you're in a hurry, you may want to use charging stations that require payment.

How do I pay for EV charging in the UK?

There are a lot of ways you can pay for charging your EV in the UK. The first and the easiest one is via credit or debit card. Be aware that this method is the most expensive and is not widely available since it's pricey for network operators to install. Depending on the network provider, you can also pay for charging your car with apps, QR codes, or RFID cards.

September 11, 2022

Learn about paying for charging your car in public charging stations.

Examples of margins, padding, and borders
  • Key Points
  • • The Bonnet app is the best option that allows you to locate chargers, charge your EV, and pay for the service with the same app. While other network providers require separate apps for charging and for paying, Bonnet combines all of them and makes your charging experience better and easier.
  • • Other payment methods for EV chargers are credit or debit cards, network apps, and RFID cards. RFID cards are less common since most smartphones are equipped with an internet connection and NFC capability.
  • • 20% of all public chargers in the UK are free to use. They usually belong to small network providers, but you may also find some that belong to bigger companies.
  • • There are three charger types you can charge your car with: slow chargers that operate at 4kW/hour, fast chargers - between 7kW/hour and 22kW/hour, and rapid chargers that deliver electricity at up to 350kW/hour. Slow and fast chargers are most commonly used in homes, while rapid chargers can be found at charging hubs.

Today, more and more people are actively switching to electric vehicles, and for new drivers, it may take some time to get used to it and find out all the answers to their questions. One of the most important questions that pop up is how to pay for charging. While most drivers charge their cars at home, many of them still use public stations. In this article, we'll tell you all about paying for charging your EV on public networks.

There are several ways you can pay for public EV charging in the UK. We've listed all of them and given you some other information you should know as an EV owner.

Best Tip - Use Bonnet

While there are several ways to pay for EV charging, this is by far the most convenient one. Bonnet has changed the way EV drivers pay for car charging and made their lives a lot simpler. Before Bonnet, EV drivers had to download different apps for charging and payment processing for each network they used, and they ended up with cluttered home screens. But Bonnet merged all key networks into one app to make your charging experience easier and more pleasant. Bonnet's goal is to make your life easier when it comes to searching for the nearest available charging point and charging your vehicle. So far, Bonnet has partnered with 17 charging networks from all over Europe to create a cross-network payment service, and we're constantly working on bringing more networks into the loop.

Bonnet eliminates the need for you to juggle multiple charging station finder apps at the same time, and you'll never roll up to a charging point only to find that it's occupied or broken because we constantly monitor the condition of charging stations. And if you don't want to set up an account - no worries, you can download the app and use it only to locate the nearest charger.

Paying For EV Charging With Bonnet

Bonnet offers the lowest EV charging prices out there. Since we operate all over Europe, our charging prices vary depending on the country you're in. For instance, if you're in the UK, you can charge your car at rates as low as 40p/kWh – even for rapid charging. Bonnet displays rates in your local currency. If the country you select is not listed on the app, then Bonnet is not available there at the moment.

No matter where you are, you can choose to pay-as-you-go or go with the Bonnet Refill pricing plan, which allows you to pay for charging upfront and save even more money. 

If you pay for charging your car in advance with the Bonnet Refills option, you will get a set price per kWh. Even if you exceed the amount of power included in your Refill, all extra kWh will be charged at the lower locked-in rate. In short, the more kWh you buy in advance, the less you pay. And if you don't use up all the kWh in your pre-paid package, they will roll over to the next month. You can choose a Refill Volume that suits your lifestyle and charging habits, and Bonnet will automatically charge you every month and add a new Refill package to your account. You can also cancel at any time (but from our experience, users never want to).

With Bonnet, you can monitor and charge your car at truly competitive fixed prices and forget about getting a shocking bill after charging. 

And if you don't use Bonnet for some reason or it's not available in your country yet, here are other ways you can pay for charging your EV:

Pay For EV Charging With A Credit Or Debit Card

Charge point providers strive to make the payment process easier for EV drivers, which is why most key networks take contactless credit or debit cards. Most people are now used to contactless card payment, and the UK government released a mandate that all new rapid chargers should accept contactless payment, so you can expect this payment method to become more widespread at rapid chargers in the next few years. 

Keep in mind that contactless payment is often the most pricey option for customers since it's the most expensive option to install for charge point owners. Also, while charge point operators are making easy payment methods more accessible, contactless payment is still mostly available only on rapid and ultra-rapid devices. And it'll likely remain so because of the cost of installation. Plus, the existing fast chargers are very unlikely to get that update any time soon. Also, be aware that with contactless payment, you won't receive live updates on your car's charge levels or get payment receipts.

Pay With A Network App

All charging networks offer the option of paying as you go. Many of them use Zap-Pay or another contactless system, while with others, if you want to pay for charging, you'll be asked to download the network app and sign up for an account. Sometimes, customers will be asked to transfer a minimum amount of credit to their account in order to get started, which can be very inconvenient and time-consuming.

RFID Card

Some networks accept RFID cards that can be used to pay for charging your EV. These networks are equipped with radio frequency identification technology that allows communication between your card and the card reader using a radio frequency instead of a magnetic strip. You can start charging your car simply by tapping your RFID card against the card reader, but you will need to re-register your RFID card and connect your online account online to the card.

RFID cards are becoming less popular today since most smartphones have an internet connection and NFC capability, but it's still an alternative method of payment. 

Other Ways To Pay For EV Charging 

Depending on the network, you may also be able to pay by scanning a QR code with your smartphone. This will take you directly to the payment page. Some networks also support vehicle-to-charger communication that enables automatic charging and billing. These networks have an Autocharge system that automatically recognises your car as soon as you register it and then automatically starts the charging process. 

Free Electric Car Charging In The UK

While in most cases, you'll need to pay for charging your car, around 20% of all public charging points in the UK are free to use. Many of them belong to small charge networks, but you can still find some free EV charging opportunities on larger charging networks such as ChargePlace Scotland and Pod Point.

Now that we've gone over the payment methods for EV charging, let's take a look at different charger types. Chargers charge your car in kilowatts (kW), with the power ranging from 3kW to 350kW - the higher the number, the quicker the charging rate. If you use a basic charger, let's say a 40kW one, your car will need approximately 12 hours to get to a full charge. Ultra-rapid chargers, however, can charge your car up to 80 per cent of a full charge within 30 minutes.

EV Charger Types

There are three main EV charger types - slow, fast, and rapid (sometimes referred to as ultra-rapid chargers with 350kW in power). Slow and rapid chargers are the most common options for at-home use or on-street charging posts. Rapid chargers, on the other hand, can mostly be found at service stations or charging hubs. Depending on the network and the charging station type, some of them are tethered and work just like a petrol pump where you plug the attached cable into your car, while for others, you will need to bring your own cable.

Slow Charger

Slow chargers are typically used at home and are three-pin plugs that charge your vehicle at just 3kW per hour. This charger type works fine for plug-in electric hybrid vehicles, but if you own a pure EV model, you can expect the charging process to take up to 24 hours. You may also find some street-side charging posts that charge at this rate, but most of them have been upgraded to deliver 7kW per hour (which is considered a fast charger). Most on-street posts use a Type 2 connector since the EU released a regulation in 2014 that demanded this connector to become the standard on all EVs.

Fast Charger

Fast chargers deliver alternating current (AC) at between 7kW and 22kW per hour, and they are becoming more and more popular in the UK, especially for at-home use. These chargers replenish the battery twice as quickly as slow ones. If, however, you want one of them installed at home, it will need to be done by an electrician. If you want a wallbox that delivers 22kW per hour, you'll need to upgrade your wiring to a three-phase supply. 

You can find fast public chargers, but they are usually untethered, so you need to bring your own cable. When charging at these posts, you'll pay as you go, either by creating an account with the charging network or using contactless payment.

Rapid Charger

Rapid chargers are the ones you're most likely to come across at public charging stations. They deliver power at a rate between 43kW and 150kWper hour and can operate both on direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). Some of them can replenish 80% of the battery's level in under half an hour. 43kW AC units use a type 2 connector, but all DC chargers use a larger Combined Charging System (CCS) plug. However, cars fitted with CCS can also work with a Type 2 connector and can charge at a slower rate. 

Most DC rapid chargers deliver power at 50kW per hour, but more and more chargers have been released that work at a charging rate of between 100 and 150kW per hour. Shell, for example, has some 175kW devices and Tesla's latest chargers deliver power at 250kW per hour. These are also referred to as V3 chargers. Ionity and Gridserve recently introduced 350kW chargers all across the UK. Keep in mind that not all EV cars can accept power at this rate, so check what rate your model can handle.

Paying For At-Home Charging

If you charge your car at home with a three-pin plug socket or a wallbox, the cost of charging will be added to your next electricity bill, so you don't need to take any extra steps to complete the payment. Keep an eye on different grants and tariffs offered by either The Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) or electricity providers to lower your bills.  

Examples of margins, padding, and borders

FAQ

What is the best way to pay for electric car charging?

The easiest and most convenient way to pay for EV charging is to use the Bonnet app. Bonnet operates with 17 major network providers, with more joining every day. It allows you to monitor your charging and pay for it all in one app, which relieves you from the hassle of downloading different apps for different network operators.

Can I charge my EV for free in the UK?

Yes, you can charge your electric car for free in the UK in some locations. Around 20% of all public chargers across the UK are free to use. They usually belong to smaller network operators and use slow chargers, so if you're in a hurry, you may want to use charging stations that require payment.

How do I pay for EV charging in the UK?

There are a lot of ways you can pay for charging your EV in the UK. The first and the easiest one is via credit or debit card. Be aware that this method is the most expensive and is not widely available since it's pricey for network operators to install. Depending on the network provider, you can also pay for charging your car with apps, QR codes, or RFID cards.

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