Zap-Map figures show that Scotland has the largest number of free electronic vehicle (EV) charging points in the UK.

More Than A Quarter of the UK’s Free Chargers

The latest figures from EV charging infrastructure trackers Zap-Maps show that of the 21,000 charging devices listed on Zap-Map, 4,900 are free to use.  This means that Scotland has about double the number of free electric charging devices than south-east England and Scotland has more than a quarter of the UK’s free chargers.

Access Fee Still Payable

Scotland has 4,655 chargers with nearly 30 per cent of them free to use, and although a large percentage of public charging devices in Scotland are free to use, EV motorists still have to pay an annual access fee of £20 to the operators, Chargeplace Scotland, Scotland’s national Electric Vehicle (EV) charging network.  The ChargePlace Scotland network grew from 55 public charge points in 2013 to over 1,500 in 2020.

Northern Ireland

The Zap-Map figures also show that Northern Ireland is well-served in terms of free charging with 72 per cent of its charging devices free to use.  The actual numbers of charging points in Northern Ireland are, however, still relatively low.

The carNI EV charging network in Northern Ireland and the ESB ecars network in the Republic of Ireland (which are interoperable and accessed using the ecarNI Access Card) report that there are currently only 334 charge points.


Zap-Map figures show that drivers in London are certainly not as lucky as Scottish EV drivers as only 400 (only 6 per cent of its total number of chargers) are free.

Most Use Public Chargers

The Zap-Map survey of 2,200 people found that 90 per cent use public chargers when they’re out.  Supermarkets are the most popular public charging place (48 per cent of respondents), followed by motorway service stations (47 per cent) and public car parks (32 per cent).

Ultra-Rapid Charging Point Growth

Recent figures have also shown a growth in ultra-rapid charge points with 16 per cent of EV owners now using them. This trend has been helped by more cars being able to take higher charge rates as well as an almost doubling of the number of ultra-rapid charge points available.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

These figures appear to show that Scotland is taking a lead in free EV charging.  The fast-growing EV industry and fierce competition now among car manufacturers and charge point operators makes it clear that having a robust and reliable charging network across the whole of the UK is going to be an important priority. Where and how cars can be cheaply charged is an important consideration for motorists who are thinking of making the move to EV now.  There is, however, still some confusion in the marketplace about charging options which is one of the reasons why The Department for Transport (DfT) is introducing contactless payment at charge points, forcing operators to provide a 24/7 call helpline for drivers and making location data, power rating and price information more accessible, with the hope of reassuring motorists that charging EV’s can be easier than refuelling with petrol or diesel.