Can you run an EV without a home charger?

013 Feb 2024

What to know about keeping your EV battery topped up with public EV charging

If you’re new to the EV world, there can be lots of choices to make – from the type of electric vehicle you want, to whether you should invest in a home charger.

While plenty of people choose to charge their EV at home, for some EV drivers, public charging might be more practical. This could be the case if, for example, you’re renting or leasing an electric car for a short period, and don’t want to commit to buying and installing a home charger. Public charging might also be preferable if you’re renting – or if your property simply isn’t set up to adapt to home charging.

In this article, we share what to know if you’re thinking about making public EV charging your preferred way to top up your battery.

The number of public EV charging points is growing

It’s tricky to pinpoint the exact number of public EV chargers in the UK, as public EV charging infrastructure is constantly evolving. By October 2023, however, it was generally agreed that the number of public EV chargers (from a range of providers) had topped 50,000, while the government has set a target of installing 300,000 EV charging points throughout the UK by 2030. All of which adds up to one thing: it’s likely that it will get easier to find EV charging on the move. We’re supporting this by investing up to £1 billion in UK EV public charging. Today, around 70% of the population in Great Britain lives within a five-mile radius of a bp pulse rapid or ultra-fast charge point. 

You may be able to charge at work – or while you shop

With a bit of planning, you may be able to find public EV charging options that fit your schedule – helping you to charge up while you get on with your life. If you plan to use your electric car for a regular commute, it’s worth checking whether your workplace provides EV charging. You might be able to top up your battery during your 9-5.

And, because many EV chargers are deliberately put either at or nearby convenient places, such as supermarkets, shops, pubs, or cafes, you can catch up with a friend, work remotely, have a stroll, do your food shop and whizz through your errands while charging. Charging publicly isn’t wasted time while you twiddle your thumbs – it can be an opportunity to enjoy yourself.

Public chargers welcome most EVs

The EV industry has standardised connections and universal charging standards. Which means that, whatever EV you drive, it’s likely to be compatible with almost every make and model of public charger – although we’d always recommend double-checking with your vehicle manufacturer. So chances are, when you pull into a charging site, you probably won’t need to search for a particular company name on a charger – if it’s got the speed and connector type you want, you can use it.

Public EV charging lets you skip installation and maintenance costs

With a home charger, you typically take on the costs of putting it in your drive and fixing it if it breaks down. With public charging, you don’t have that responsibility, which can save you time and money. It’s a bit like how renting works – the owner of the goods needs to pay for its maintenance, rather than the person who uses it on a come and go basis. If you’re thinking of moving house soon, don't fancy the disruption of installation, or want to rent an electric vehicle for a short time only, opting to rely on public EV charging might prove the most convenient solution.

Find a charging point near you

Download the bp pulse app to see where you’ll find us and subscribe to save your favourite charging sites and access our lowest charging rates.

Use the bp pulse app to help find public EV chargers

Our app’s filters help you find chargers according to your preferences like availability, connector type and speed. You can also save your favourite charging points to come back to, creating your own personal map of chargers in locations you’ve favourited.

Subscribe for £7.85 per month, and you can also save an average of 20% on our typical public charging rates, helping you to manage costs if public charging is your main – or only – way of topping up your EV battery .

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  1. Pay on average 20% less than contactless rates when using bp pulse network. Savings vary by charger type (Fast = 25%, Rapid = 20%, UFC = 19% less) and not available on [non-participating chargers]( "non-participating chargers"). Rates & average subscriber savings are subject to change. Payment by bp pulse charge card or via bp pulse app is required. Rates & savings vary across bp pulse network.