Complete guide to the Ubitricity charging network

Here's how to use the Shell-owned Ubitricity network, which offers on-street charging through lamp-posts and bollards, mainly in the Greater London area

Ubitricity

The Ubitricity charging network offers on-street charging to electric and plug-in hybrid car drivers who don’t have the option of installing a wallbox on a driveway of their own. Ubitricity’s chargers can be found at the roadside, either built into lamp-posts or contained within standalone, kerbside bollards.

Charging rates of around 5.5kW are common, meaning a full charge will be achievable for most electric vehicles overnight. However, while there are over 5,500 chargers on the Ubitricity network as of mid-2022, almost all of them are located in the greater London area. In a recent statement, Ubitricity promised to install an additional 500 charge points in the borough of Westminster alone by the end of March 2023.

The network is expanding rapidly, both in London and elsewhere around the UK, with points now live in Liverpool, Oxford, Newbury and Portsmouth, as well as Dublin in Ireland. Ubitricity also has a presence in Germany and France.

Previously, you needed to buy a special cable in order to benefit from Ubitricity’s membership schemes, but following the January 2021 purchase of the company by Shell, that setup has been scrapped. You can now connect using any standard Type 2 charging cable and activate the charge in your phone's web browser – via a QR code on the charge point – or using the Shell Recharge app.

How to charge on the Ubitricity network

You no longer have to buy Ubitricity’s 'SmartCable' in order to use the network. You simply park next to a free charger and plug in with a standard Type 2 cable. It’s worth noting that unlike many rapid charge points, very few Ubitricity chargers have reserved EV-only parking. The spots are often on residential streets, and can be occupied by cars not using the infrastructure.

To begin charging, you can either use the Shell Recharge app (which you'll likely already have on your phone if you're a regular user of the brand's rapid-charging network), or scan the QR code on the sign affixed to the lamp-post to open a web portal. It goes without saying that you must ensure any cables are trailed as neatly as possible to prevent members of the public tripping while your car is charging.

There are no subscriptions or monthly contracts with Ubitricity – you simply pay for the electricity you use each time. As of April 2022, current charges stand at 32p per kilowatt hour, plus a 35p connection fee. That means fully charging a Nissan Leaf's 40kWh battery should cost around £13.

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