Complete guide to the InstaVolt charging network

Need to charge up your electric car on the InstaVolt charging network? Here’s how it works

The InstaVolt charging network features a couple of hundred fast- and - in the very near future - rapid-charging points, located in various towns and cities across the UK.

While it isn’t the biggest charging network in the country, it’s one of the easiest to use: drivers need only tap their contactless bank card on the machine and plug their car in. That’s all there is to it.

There’s no InstaVolt app: electric-car drivers can check the availability of stations using the company’s website, or alternatively using the ChargePoint app. The company does not issue RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) cards, as is the case on some other networks.

Most of the firm’s chargers are in England, but there are a handful in Scotland and South Wales. Northern Ireland is still waiting for its first InstaVolt station.

How much does charging cost?

InstaVolt charges a flat rate of 35 pence per kilowatt-hour, with no connection fees or membership rates. This means a full top-up of the standard, 40kWh Nissan Leaf will cost £14. 

As is the case with most other public fast-charging networks, charging at home will almost certainly be cheaper: if you’re electricity tariff is around the UK average of 12-14p per kilowatt-hour, the same full charge of a Nissan Leaf will cost £5.60 on a standard 7kW wallbox.

Payments are made at each charger using a contactless card: there’s no minimum payment, although InstaVolt says you’ll initially see a ‘pre-authorisation’ fee of £5 appear on your bank statement. This will automatically be cancelled and replaced with the real amount when you’ve finished charging.

Customers can request a VAT receipt by emailing the charger station name, time, date and charging cost to info@instavolt.co.uk.

How fast can I charge?

This depends on the individual charging station: most are capable of 50kW or more, with 250 new chargers capable of 125kW set to be installed from August 2019 onwards. The first of those 125kW chargers has already been installed in Basingstoke, while a portion of the new units will be retrofitted at existing sites.

Regardless of charging speed, the company claims that 100% of the electricity provided will be produced by renewable sources.

At 50kW chargers, a 40Wh Nissan Leaf will take a 0-80% top-up in around 45 minutes, with a full charge taking closer to an hour. Meanwhile, a vehicle like the 90kWh Jaguar I-Pace will see a 0-80% charge in less than 40 minutes on InstaVolt's new 125kW chargers.

InstaVolt’s charging stations all come with CCS and CHAdeMO cables installed, so you don’t need to bring your own. However, some Tesla owners may need to bring a special connector to make use of the CHAdeMO plug.

Anyone who encounters an issue while charging can contact InstaVolt directly on a helpline that’s available 24/7: the number is 0808 281 4444.