Complete guide to the BP Pulse (formerly Polar Plus) charging network
Here's how to charge your electric or plug-in hybrid car on the BP Pulse public charging network (which was formerly known as Polar Plus)
It’s not uncommon to find electric-car chargers at petrol stations – a number are operated by spin-offs from legacy oil companies, in fact. One such company is BP Pulse (formally Polar Plus), which operates a network of more than 9,000 chargers at fuel stations and other locations across the UK.
That figure includes more than 3,000 rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, all of which can be found via a live map on the BP Pulse website. There’s also a dedicated app for smartphone users. BP Pulse plans to triple the number of chargers on its network by 2030 as the UK approaches the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.
By the end of 2021, BP Pulse operated over 400 'ultra-rapid' 150kW points across the UK. Then, in 2022, BP Pulse opened a charging hub in Gatwick Airport's Q-Park car park (below) aimed at private-hire taxi drivers, and announced a tie-up with M&S to install 900 charge points at around 70 stores by the end of 2024.
The company also operates fleet charging hubs, including one on Park Lane in London that features 22x 50kW rapid chargers. BP Pulse also has a partnership with taxi firm Addison Lee to give its fleet of over 400 electric cars access to these hubs and the other 3,000 rapid charging points across its network.
BP Pulse membership and charges
If you're a regular user and want the cheapest rates at BP Pulse chargers, you can become a subscriber for £7.85 per month. There's no fixed-term contract and you can cancel at any time. After you’ve signed up, you get an RFID card or fob in the post. You simply park up, plug in and tap this on the charger to begin charging.
Currently, if you download the BP Pulse app, register and upgrade to a full membership you’re eligible for one month free subscription, and up to £45 credit to use on the network.
As of February 2023, prices for subscribers start from 44p per kWh at AC chargers that provide speeds of up to 22kW. It costs subscribers 55p per kWh to use one of network's 43kW AC and 50kW DC rapid chargers, or its DC ultra-rapid chargers that offer 150kW+ charging speeds – down from 67p per kWh last year.
If you're not going to be using BP Pulse chargers regularly, it's still worth becoming a 'registered user' (which doesn't cost anything). This lets you charge at 57p per kWh for the 22kW AC chargers, and 67p per kWh for BP Pulse's rapid chargers and ultra-rapid chargers.
If you don't take out a subscription or become a registered user, you can use contactless payment on the network's 50kW rapid and 150kW+ ultra-rapid chargers, which both cost 69p per kWh to charge from. If you find one of BP Pulse's slower charging points fitted with a contactless payment reader it'll cost you 57p per kWh to use without a subscription or membership.
The only additional fee is a £10 per hour overstay fee that applies to anyone charging for over 90 minutes on BP Pulse's 50kW or 150kW rapid chargers.
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