2 DAYS LEFT UNTIL TNW Conference 2021 – join us in Amsterdam for face-to-face business!

Driving the future of sustainable mobility

powered by

This article was published on February 11, 2021

Scotland’s free EV chargers make the rest of the UK look stingy

Scotland is the Karl Marx of electric vehicle charging

Scotland’s free EV chargers make the rest of the UK look stingy
Matthew Beedham
Story by

Matthew Beedham

Editor, SHIFT by TNW

Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.

Nothing in life comes for free. Except nobody seems to have told the highland nation of Scotland that.

According to figures from UK EV charging infrastructure trackers Zap-Map, Scotland has the most free electric car chargers in the UK… and by a long stretch too.

Think of it like this: Scotland has a population of about 5.5 million, the south east of England has a population of about 9 million. However, Scotland has about double the number of free electric charging devices than south east England.

ev, uk, scotland, future, electric
Credit: Zap-Map
Scotland is leading the way in the UK with free EV chargers.

Of all 21,000 charging devices listed on Zap-Map, 4,900 are free to use, the company says.

Scotland has a whopping 1,334 free devices listed, meaning it has more than a quarter of the UK’s free chargers. Scotland itself has 4,655 chargers meaning 28% of its chargers are free to use.

In second place is south east England with just 642. The north west comes in third with 445 free charging devices currently online.

[Read: How Polestar is using blockchain to increase transparency]

As Zap-Map points out, there are some other interesting caveats. If you compare the number of free to use chargers to the total number of chargers in a given area, places like Northern Ireland, seem to give a big helping hand to EV drivers. In NI, 72% of its charging devices are free to use, however, this is partly because it doesn’t have many chargers to begin with.

If you’ve got an EV in NI, chances are you’ll be able to charge it for free, when you do find a charger.

Compare that to London, which has 400 free chargers, that’s just 6% of its total number of chargers. Good luck finding one of those that’s available to use.

It seems that Scotland is a bit of an outlier having so many free chargers. It makes the rest of the UK and world look kinda stingy. The most likely explanation is that there aren’t enough EVs in the country yet, and the free chargers are still operating as an incentive to get drivers to switch from gasoline to electric power.

It’s also worth noting that these free chargers aren’t necessarily always free to everyone. In some cases, the devices are reserved for guests and patrons at hotels, customers of restaurants, or shoppers at retail outlets.

Still, if you’re going shopping anyway, might as well get that free juice.


SHIFT is brought to you by Polestar. It’s time to accelerate the shift to sustainable mobility. That is why Polestar combines electric driving with cutting-edge design and thrilling performance.Find out how.

Also tagged with