Free Electric Car Charging - Select Car Leasing
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Free Electric Car Charging

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But drive to a restaurant in an electric car, and while the meal might cost you, the charging could well be free. 

Free electric car charging is indeed now possible and in fact becoming more and more popular. Read out short guide to discover where the free charging points are and how to access them.

Why is free electric car charging such a big deal?

Imagine if you fill up your petrol/diesel car and the person at the till says, “No charge – the fuel is free!”

Too good to believe? It’s already reality today for electric car drivers. You can pull up at certain locations, plug in, shop or do whatever it is you need to do, and then come back later to a car with increased battery range. All for free.

Where are the free charging points located?

Businesses are now trying to attract customers with free EV charging.

They know the market share of electric vehicles is growing rapidly and they’ve worked out you are more likely to buy stuff from them if they make it easy for you to charge at no cost.

  • Top tip: don’t forget to take your charging cable with you! Most free chargers don’t have cables attached – you need to bring your own to charge.

Here are the typical locations where you can find these enticing chargepoints:


Supermarkets are currently the leaders in free EV charging.

Lidl, Aldi and Sainsbury’s, for example, all allow you to park in a designated charging bay and charge for free while you shop.

The charging speed is typically about the same as you would get at home: around 7 kW. That’s good for roughly 20-30 extra miles in your car’s battery after an hour of charging.

Most of these chargers have been installed by Pod Point. You will need to download their app to use the chargers.

Be aware: Some supermarkets do make you pay for charging. Read the signs in the charging bays for the full terms and conditions, including any fees.

Also, some supermarkets are installing ‘rapid chargers’ which charge your car much more quickly. Electricity from these rapid charging points nearly always comes at a cost.

Car parks

Where else can you get free charging? Many car parks.

These can either be public car parks, or car parks located next to retail parks surrounded by shops, cafes, restaurants, etc.

These charging points generally work in the same way as the free chargers at supermarkets.

Councils install free chargers in car parks, partly to reduce emissions in the town/city centres. The owners of retail parks put them in largely so you spend money at their outlets. It’s win-win.


Perhaps you’re going away to a B&B for a weekend break? Or travelling on business for a conference?

Either way, many suppliers of accommodation – whether hotels, B&Bs, self-catering or camping – now offer free EV charging.

You simply arrive at your destination, plug in, and wake up to a fully charged battery. What’s not to like?!

Bear in mind that if the accommodation is only offering free 3-pin plug charging, or ‘a slow’ dedicated charging point (e.g. 3 kW), then your battery might not be full even after a night’s charge. But at least you will enjoy increased range, and all for free.

Leisure and eating

The other best bets for free electric car charging points are leisure facilities and the food sector.

Going to the gym? There might well be a free charger waiting for you. Off to the zoo? Ditto. How about some culture at a National Trust property? Chargers are starting to appear.

The same goes for the food industry. Have your lunch and charge for free. Sip your flat white and grab those no-cost electrons.

Of course it's not 100% guaranteed these free charging points will be available when you arrive. The parking bays may be occupied by other vehicles. Or the charging point might be broken.

Probably best to see these free chargers as the icing on the cake. By leasing an EV you already enjoy low-cost motoring – if you can get some free miles now and again, it’s a bonus.

And finally…

There’s a free smartphone app helping you find nearby charging points that are free to use. It’s called Zap-Map.

Once downloaded on to your phone, you can filter for ‘Free to use’ chargers.

The free app covers charging points nationwide and has many other useful features. The app can also be upgraded to Plus or Premium versions, offering additional functionality for a fee.

Special Zap-Map Offer! Lease any electric vehicle with Select Car Leasing and get 3 months' free access to the top Premium tier of the Zap-map app.


Phone our dedicated EV team now on
0118 3048 688

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