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Complete guide to the ChargePlace Scotland charging network

Searching for EV charging points in Scotland? Everything you need to know about the ChargePlace Scotland network

ChargePlace Scotland

ChargePlace Scotland is the country’s national electric vehicle charging network, operated by a company called SWARCO on behalf of the Scottish Government. The ChargePlace Scotland network includes over 2,600 public charging points spread across the country, 1,060 of which are free to use. 

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In order to use the charge points on the ChargePlace Scotland network you need to order an access card which means paying a fee of £10 per card. You then use the website or the App to locate your closest active charging point and then tap the card to start the charge. 

Those charge points that aren't free can be accessed using the ChargePlace Scotland smartphone app for Apple (iOS) and Android devices, which you can also use to locate nearby charging points and review your past charging sessions. Alternatively, a lot of chargers on the network accept contactless payment, or you can use a web link to start a charge.

Like most EV charging networks, ChargePlace Scotland operates units capable of various charging speeds, ranging from 7kW all the way up to 150kW on the network’s ultra-rapid chargers. A map of all ChargePlace Scotland chargers can be found on the company’s app or its website along with pricing for each unit, how powerful it is, and whether a specific point is currently in use.

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In the 2024 Driver Power survey of UK charging-point providers, ChargePlace Scotland was ranked 8th out of 9 charging network operators by electric-car owners. A fourth-place rating for prices suggests ChargePlace Scotland’s chargers offer good value, but that’s where most of the plus-points seem to end. In the same survey, ChargePlace Scotland’s chargers were rated the worst for reliability, and respondents felt the sites weren’t very secure or well lit. 

Is ChargePlace Scotland free?

Yes and no. ChargePlace Scotland says users can charge for free at around 90% of its chargers, as long as they’ve registered an account and paid a one-off fee of £10 for a ChargePlace Scotland RFID access card. ChargePlace Scotland recommends frequent users get one of these RFID cards – due to the remote signal at some of its charging sites, there might not be enough phone signal for the smartphone app to work.

It's also worth bearing in mind that each ChargePlace Scotland station is hosted by an individual owner, who’s responsible for operating the charger. Many ChargePlace Scotland charging points are owned by businesses and placed at destinations such as shopping centres or hotels in order to attract customers with free charging.

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However, each ChargePlace Scotland host is entitled to charge customers who use their unit(s), meaning the price of electricity can vary depending on who’s operating the charger. At the time of writing, prices at ChargePlace Scotland chargers range from 40p per kWh to 70p per kWh – the latter being above the UK national average (48p/kWh as of April 2024) for public charging.

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It is good to be aware that some chargers have a fee to connect to the charger of up to £3 and can require a minimum spend of £5. If you stay too long you may be subject to additional charges of up to £20 from ChargePlace Scotland and some car parks have been known to give parking tickets to charging electric cars. In some instances, the parking fees may not be included in the charging costs.

Since prices can vary from one ChargePlace Scotland charger to another, it’s worth checking how much they cost to use before you begin topping up your EV’s battery. The host of the charger should have the prices shown either online or on nearby signs, and ChargePlace Scotland also features tariff information on its website and smartphone app.

Can I access ChargePlace Scotland if I live outside of Scotland?

The ChargePlace Scotland network is open to any driver who lives in the UK and has a UK bank account. If you’re planning to visit Scotland and think you'll need to charge your electric vehicle at some point, download the ChargePlace Scotland app before you leave home so you can find chargers and pay for any charges. But as we mentioned, you can use contactless payment with some of the network's chargers, or start a charging session by using the ChargePlace Scotland Webpay website.

Can I access other chargers with my ChargePlace Scotland account?

For the time being, you can only use your ChargePlace Scotland account and RFID card with eligible charging points in Scotland. However, ChargePlace Scotland has confirmed interoperation with charging point providers in the UK is on its agenda – meaning you could soon pay to use a ChargePlace Scotland charger using an account originally set up for a different charge network.

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Content Editor

Hello, I'm George Armitage. I joined the DrivingElectric team in 2024 as a content editor and I also contribute to Auto Express. Formerly, I restored classic cars and worked in car sales. Starting with freelance writing, I progressed into automotive journalism, fuelling my passion for storytelling and connecting with audiences to explain the amazing world of EVs.

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