Finding and using a public charger

find out more or click the links below to skip to a particular section.

Finding a public charger on the bp pulse network is easy, but doing your research before you charge your electric car will ensure you know exactly what to expect when you use a charger. Read on to find out more or click the links below to skip to a particular section.

  1. Finding the speed you need
  2. Selecting the right plug
  3. Using public chargers

Whether you’re looking to charge regularly or occasionally, the bp pulse public charging network offers a wide range of options to keep you moving.

Finding the speed you need

Public chargers come in a range of speeds and those capable of charging at higher speeds usually cost more than those that charge at lower speeds.

Which chargers are installed where is usually determined by the type of destination. For example, drivers on a long journey are less likely to want to stop for long to top up their battery, which is why ultra-fast chargers capable of charging at speeds of up to 150kW are installed on bp forecourts.

If your electric car does not support charging speeds of up to 150kW, the next fastest option for charging is a rapid charger. These are often installed in locations like restaurants or hotels where drivers are more likely to spend an hour or so, which is why rapid chargers capable of charging at speeds of up to 50kW are often installed in these locations.

One important point to note is that electric cars typically slow down the rate of charge they will accept once the battery reaches 80%, to prevent the battery from sustaining damage due to consistently charging at a high speed. This means that charging from 80-100% can take an additional hour or so, therefore most electric car drivers only charge up to around 80% when using a rapid or ultra-fast charger.

At the other end of the scale, drivers parking up at a shopping centre, office or railway station won’t need to charge as quickly, which is why destination chargers capable of charging at speeds of between 3 and 22kW are installed in these locations.

When it comes to finding a charger, drivers can use the bp pulse app or map of charge points and filter the results for chargers by clicking the icon with three lines inside the search bar.

Selecting the right plug

Selecting the right plug (or connector) to charge your electric car is important, as plugging in the wrong one can result in your car charging at a much slower rate.

For example, up to 78 miles of range can be added to a Jaguar I-Pace’s battery from 15 minutes of charging on a 100kW DC charger using the Combined Charging System (CCS) connector. However, using a Type 2 (or AC) connector will only add up to 22 miles of range from 60 minutes of charging, which means it will take longer to fill the battery to the same level (source: Jaguar Land Rover).

One of the best ways to check the type of connector you will need to charge your car is to open the vehicle’s charging port (effectively the fuel cap of your electric car) and compare how this looks to the images below.

The most common charging ports that electric cars are manufactured with include Type 2, CHAdeMO and CCS.

Ultra-fast charging icon

Type 2 connector

Typical output: 3kW, 7kW, 22kW, 43kW

Type 2 is the most common charging port configuration for EVs in the UK, as both vehicles with CHAdeMO and CCS connectors typically have a Type 2 charging port.

Charging example: Most charging units with a Type 2 connector utilise the AC electric current of a charging unit to charge most smaller EV batteries within a couple of hours (with the exception of the 43kW connector, which charges the battery faster for some electric cars).

map charging icon

CHAdeMO connector

Typical output: 50kW, 150kW

CHAdeMO was initially adopted as the standard charging port configuration for EVs manufactured in Japan and Korea but is starting to become less popular in Europe.

Charging example: A CHAdeMO connector will utilise the DC electric current of a charging unit to charge some compatible EV batteries to 80% in 20-40 minutes.

rfid charging icon

CCS connector

Typical output: 50kW, 150kW, 175kW

Combined Charging System (CCS) is fast becoming the standard for modern EVs in Europe and many EV manufacturers now only produce EVs with CCS charging ports.

Charging example: A CCS connector will utilise the DC electric current of a charging unit to fully charge most of the latest EV batteries in less than an hour.

Using public chargers

Understanding the public charging network may seem daunting at first, as each charging provider operates separately and drivers often need to sign up with different providers to access their chargers.

Destination chargers have historically required a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card or key fob to be hovered over a sensor to start and stop charging sessions, which is important to note if you plan to use chargers located in places like supermarkets or public car parks.

As chargers become easier to access, many rapid and ultra-fast chargers also offer contactless as a payment option for drivers who don’t use public chargers frequently.

Chargers can now also be accessed using smartphone apps so it’s worth downloading apps like the bp pulse app to get set up ahead of when you need to charge your car.

For more frequent users, bp pulse offers a free membership option where drivers can load credit onto their account to pay for charging sessions, and a subscription option where drivers pay a monthly subscription fee of £7.85 to access the best charging rates. Drivers who opt for a bp pulse subscription also receive their first 3 months subscription free. A full breakdown of the rates that apply for using bp pulse chargers is available here.

Learn more about the bp pulse public charging network and get set for charging on the go.

Official charging partner with the leading electric vehicle manufacturers