Top tips to beat the festive rush in your EV

026 Nov 2023

The festive season can be a busy time for drivers: heading to the shops to buy presents, visiting winter attractions and travelling to celebrate with friends and family. There’s a lot to think about and, as EV owners, you can make the drive home – or away - for the festive season a joy by following these tips.

ABC: Always Be Charging

A good habit to get into is ‘Always be Charging’ (ABC). Plug in your EV and shop for festive food, grab a hot drink or browse online for gifts. That way you’ll always be journey ready whenever you need to set off.  

It’s best to always charge your EV to around 80% to keep the battery in great shape. However, there may be a rare occasion ahead of a long trip, where a 100% charge is required. While this is not recommended practice, according to some EV experts, 100% as a one-off should not significantly affect your battery performance in the long-term. Always check your user manual first.  

You can also help recharge your battery while on the move using regenerative braking, if available in your EV. It converts some of the energy lost during braking into electricity, which is then stored in the vehicle's battery, and you can read more about it here in 7 tips for driving efficiently in an EV. 

Find a public charging point near you by downloading the bp pulse app >

Find out more about public EV charging

We'll keep your electric vehicle moving as you travel around the UK with our network of charging points—so you can plug in, power up, and go.

Time your ride 

Though business-related travel reduces in the run up to Christmas Day, many use this period as a last chance to hit the shops. For most of us, there’s no other option than the days immediately before 25 December. According to AA estimates in 2022, 17 million cars were on the road on 23 and 24 December – of which 531,000 were EVs.  

During busy periods you’ll find it pays to make an early start or drive late at night when the roads – and charging points – are likely to be quieter. Arriving at the family home on Christmas Day itself is a better choice – nothing beats showing up as the turkey comes out of the oven – with a lot fewer journeys happening on the 25th. From Boxing Day, traffic tends to be at lower levels until the New Year. 

The good news is the number of ultra-fast chargers on the bp pulse network has more than doubled in the past 12 months to over 662 with many on bp forecourts, making the great festive getaway smoother than ever. And things are all set to get even better with bp announcing up to £1 billion investment in EV charging over the next ten years with plans to triple the number of charging points by 2030. Download the bp pulse app to locate your nearest available one.  

With the risk of bad weather, driving long distances should be timed with the forecast in mind.  Always plan your route and anticipate rain, snow and icy conditions that might impact on battery life and charger availability. Our driving in winter weather tips will help put the ease into your seasonal journey. 

Plan your route 

Driving to see your loved ones over the holidays can take you to different parts of the country, and well outside of your usual charging zones. Fortunately, with approximately 70% of the UK population living within a five-mile radius of a bp pulse rapid or ultra-fast charger, you can be confident of finding us in most parts of the country.  

When planning to make your journey nice and easy, remember you don’t have to use a motorway. Choosing an A road alternative is likely to take you via charging stations that have less demand. There’s no better place than the bp pulse app to conveniently locate your nearest charger point, and if you haven’t yet done so, it can be downloaded here

For motorway users, there’s great news with the opening of big charging hubs around the country. These are likely to be popular but if there are queues, they’ll move fast due to the sheer number of charging points and speed of charging.  

A visit to the NEC Birmingham Gigahub™ will help take the pain out of M6, M42 and M40 Christmas Day traffic with capacity for an impressive 180 vehicles to charge simultaneously. EV drivers on the M1 in north Northamptonshire can head to a powerful new hub at Kettering, featuring 10 300kW chargers, equating to 20 150kW charging points, each capable of charging up to 100 miles of range in around 15 minutes (depending on the vehicle, its charge management software, its battery, the weather and driving conditions). While Reading East and West Connect on the M4 both offer capacity for eight vehicles to charge simultaneously. 

It’s easy to make your festive travels part of the celebration. To help you with this, make sure to download our bp pulse app to access one of the UK’s largest charging networks. Find your nearest charging points, check availability by charging speed and connector type – and enjoy lower charging rates.  

Have a very happy holiday getaway with bp pulse. 

Related articles

3 ways to get your EV winter-ready


3 ways to get your EV winter-ready

Getting your EV winter-ready is crucial for maximising its safety, performance, and longevity.

Essential EV route planning tips


Essential EV route planning tips

Enjoy a successful road trip in your electric car by following essential route planning steps and vehicle checks