PEUGEOT research shows electric car drivers in the UK can circumnavigate Britain for free

According to new research by PEUGEOT UK, electric vehicle (EV) drivers can circumnavigate mainland Britain without spending a penny on recharging. This is all thanks to a network of 4,400-plus free-to-use public chargers.

More than a tenth of the UK’s 35,000 public chargers are free to use and PEUGEOT UK has plotted a 2,688-mile (4,326km) journey around the coastline of mainland Britain to highlight the extent of the cost-saving infrastructure. 

Starting at Land’s End, the route runs along England’s southern and eastern coasts, up through Scotland via John O’Groats before returning to Land’s End through Wales using only free public chargers. The furthest distance between two free charge points on the route between Chelmsford and Sandringham is 168 miles (270km). 

Many of the approximately 4,400 free charge points in Britain are located in retail parks, hotels and public car parks. These are funded by retailers, landowners and some local authorities and allow drivers to charge overnight or run errands while their vehicles charge. 

The ChargePlace Scotland network features more than 2,000 chargers, with the majority available for free to users who have the ChargePlace Scotland app or who pay a one-off £10 fee for a charging card.

Driving the same route in a petrol or diesel version of the same car can cost drivers up to £421. In reality, this doesn’t mean that driving an electric car will be free. It can be if you’re willing to navigate the free charging system but for most this isn’t possible or convenient on a daily bases. It would be interesting to see someone attempt this and see how well it works. 

That said, an 80 per cent charge using a 50kW rapid charger costs an estimated £26 while using home charging and taking advantage of lower energy tariffs can bring the same charge down to just £6.80. This is a massive saying over the £421 cost estimated for a petrol or diesel vehicle over this route. 

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PEUGEOT’s e-208, for example, has a range of around 225 miles (362km) and supports up to 100kW rapid charging, with an 0-80 per cent charge taking just 30 minutes. With these figures the research ultimately shows that driving an electric vehicle, even when you pay for charging, is far cheaper than the combustion-engined equivalent. 

If you are savvy, and it’s convenient, you can drive the length of the UK for free, though. According to Zap-Map, 84  of free public chargers are fast. This means they will charge a car at between 7.5kW and 22kW, allowing owners to fully charge their car in seven hours and 33 minutes from a 7kWh charger, or as little as five hours when fitted with the optional 11kW on-board charger (from an 11kWh chargepoint).

Julie David, PEUGEOT UK managing director, said: “Road trips are a great way to experience what the UK has to offer and our research shows the significant cost savings available for electric vehicle drivers thanks to its network of free-to-use public chargers. 

“While few motorists are likely to complete the full 2,688-mile loop, our research highlights the potentially under-used free charging network in the UK.”

Last year, PEUGEOT research found that electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) owners travel further in their cars over a week than those driving petrol or diesel cars.

In a study of 1,800 UK drivers, with a proportionate mix of electric, hybrid, petrol and diesel car owners, PEUGEOT found all-electric and plug-in hybrid owners cover on average 109 miles (175km) in their cars per week. This compares to just 88 miles (142km) per week for petrol and diesel owners. 

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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