Discover electric car charging in London. Find charging stations, payment options, and city regulations for hassle-free charging.
Like many major cities, London is aiming to reduce its carbon footprint and has set out to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Mobility is a crucial part of this shift, and the city has a range of initiatives designed to reduce overall traffic, improve air quality, and tackle emissions.
London’s Electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure strategy aims to support and drive the adoption of electric mobility by building out accessible and adequate EV charging infrastructure to support the capital’s growing number of electric vehicles.
London also offers incentives for electric car drivers, including a 100 percent discount on the city’s Congestion Charge until 2025, exemption from vehicle tax, and free or reduced-cost parking in some boroughs.
There are over 13,300 public EV charging stations in Greater London. The distribution of EV chargers varies greatly by borough, ranging from 2,196 stations in Westminster to only 45 in Bexley.
The majority of public EV charging station buildout in London has been market-driven, with charging networks and businesses such as retailers and hotels installing charging stations where they see demand.
London’s public EV charging network is mainly made up of standard Level 2 (AC) charging stations, with power outputs ranging from 3 to 22 kilowatts (kW). The city also has several Level 3 (DC) fast charging stations, with power outputs ranging from 50 to 350 kW, which can charge an EV from 20 to 80 per cent in under an hour.
Both regular and fast chargers are available throughout the city, including on-street in residential areas and at offices and public car parks across boroughs. For an accurate and up-to-date overview, you can also take a look at Zapmap.
No, you generally cannot charge your electric car for free in London. While some shops, hotels, and restaurants offer complimentary charging for their customers, the majority of public EV charging in London requires payment.
How much your EV will cost to charge depends on the type of charger, the charging network, and the amount of electricity consumed or time spent at the charger. Below are the typical EV charging costs at three major public EV charging networks in London.
Pay-as-you-go: No subscription fees, standard rate of 40p per kWh, and off-peak rate of 37p per kWh. Connection fee of 35p per charging session.
Like regular AC charging, fast charging costs vary by operator and the power output. As a rule of thumb, however, fast charging will always cost more than regular charging. We’ve compiled below fast charging costs on some of London's major fast charging station networks.
Pay-as-you-go: No subscription fees, charging rates between 79p and 85p per kWh. A transaction fee of 35p per charging session.
There are two main ways to pay for public EV charging in London: either directly by credit or debit card or using a charging card, app, or fob provided by a charge point operator.
Paying as you go enables greater flexibility by eliminating subscription fees and lets you use the most convenient charger regardless of the network. By contrast, memberships often unlock cheaper charging rates in exchange for a monthly or yearly subscription, which can work out cheaper if you charge your car a lot.
Not all operators allow you to pay as you go, so it’s worth checking the network and charge point you plan to use beforehand.
There is a range of charging cards and apps that you can use to charge your electric car in London, each tied to a charging network. Some of the major networks include Shell Recharge, BP Pulse, Pod Point, Octopus Electroverse, and Source London.
It's worth remembering that many networks are interoperable, meaning you can use the app or card from one charge point operator to use a charging station from a different network. Note, however, that you might have to pay higher costs when charging outside your network.
Some services also offer memberships that allow you to access public EV chargers regardless of their network – one such example is Bonnet in London. These services can combine the benefits of a membership with the flexibility of paying as you go, although it’s worth checking the list of partner networks before you sign up to ensure there are supported charging stations near your home or office.
There are no city-wide provisions for parking electric vehicles in London. As a general rule, parking at a public on-street EV charging station comes with the same requirements as parking in any other on-street bay, including parking fees or time limitations.
However, some boroughs offer reduced or free parking to EVs, which may only apply to residents or all EV drivers, depending on the Borough. For example, Westminster offers discounted parking, allowing EVs to park in on-street bays for the maximum prescribed duration for the cost of just 10 minutes. It also offers free parking at on-street charging stations and a free resident parking permit to EV drivers.
Londoners without access to off-street parking at their homes can suggest locations to install new EV charge points throughout their borough. The process varies slightly by council, but you can find an overview of this program and more information on requesting a public EV charging station near your home here.