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How to avoid queues at charging stations this summer

The summer holidays and sunny weather have arrived – as have queues at en-route charging points! Chargemap reveals 6 tips to forestall queuing at charging stations this summer.


Overview of the number of charging stations in the UK

According to Government figures published in April 2023, there are 2,540 en-route charging devices in the UK, including at motorway and other service stations and ferry terminals.  This summer, e-mobility is ever more present on A-roads and motorways and nearly all motorway service stations are now equipped with charging stations. Government reports claim there are approximately 400 rapid and ultra-rapid chargers at motorway service areas in England. According to the RAC, the 400 or so charging stations have a capacity for 682 EVs to charge at once. 

Statistics published by Zapmap state that at the end of June 2023, there were 44,408 electric vehicle charging devices across the UK at 25,521 charging locations. This represents a 36% increase in the total number of charging devices since June 2022. In terms of rapid and ultra-rapid charging, there are 8,680 devices at 4,546 locations, representing a 94% increase in ultra-rapid devices since June 2022. So waiting 1 hour to charge for 4 hours may be a nightmare of the past – as long as your EV is equipped for rapid charging, of course! 

However, all this is not sufficient to absorb the increasing number of EVs on the road. Queues at charging points will therefore still be part and parcel of your journeys this summer. You can nonetheless take on board a few tips to avoid queues as much as possible and take to the road stress-free in your EV this summer. 

Our 6 handy tips to forestall queueing at charging stations

1. Keep your battery at a certain level for charging stops

Minimum battery level at charging stops in the Chargemap route planner
Setting the minimum battery level in the Chargemap route planner

On an everyday basis, it is recommended to keep your battery level between 20% and 80% at all times. This is all the more important during the holiday period when you tend to need to charge more frequently. 

Never wait until you are approaching a battery level of 0% before charging and always try to keep a safety margin of around 20%. Why? Because sometimes you won’t be able to charge at the station you were aiming for and therefore have to continue a few extra miles to the next en-route charging device. For example, there may be too many EVs queueing up at the charging station or some charging points may be out of order. As a bonus tip, think about checking out the status of the charging station and recent reviews by the community in the Chargemap app.

Moreover, charging takes longer when your battery level is under 20% or over 80%. So if you keep within this bracket, you will optimise your charging time on long journeys and free up charging points quickly for other vehicles queuing up behind you. This is also good practice for preserving your battery, as we explain in our article about the 6 mistakes to avoid to take care of your battery.

2. Target charging areas where there are at least 6 charging stations available

Charge at charging stations with several connectors and stations available
Checking the number of charging stations and connectors available on Chargemap

Our second tip to avoid long queues at charging points is to choose stations with a sufficient number of connectors available. On this topic, non-isolated charging stations are prioritised by the Chargemap route planner. When planning your trips ahead of time, you can check the number of charging points in a charging pool. We advise you go for at least 6 charging stations in good working order. If the charging stop proposed doesn’t suit you, you can always change the charging stop. To do this, simply activate the “Stations” button on the route planner map and then select the new charging station and add it to the trip by tapping “Charge at this station”. 

3. Choosing charging stations with nearby amenities

Filter services nearby charging stations on Chargemap
Filtering charging stations based on nearby services

If you take our advice on board, you will avoid a few queues during your holidays, but not all of them. This means the presence of nearby amenities is essential to fill in the waiting time. The general mood at queues can be good and it is always pleasant to have a relaxing moment 😉

Use the “Nearby services” filters to prioritise stations with nearby facilities such as a park, shops or just a place you can grab a coffee and a delicious ice cream!

4. Avoid charging your EV at peak times

Charge outside peak hours

Try to charge in the early morning or late evening to avoid peak charging times. These are the ideal time slots to enjoy a bit of calm and cooler summer temperatures. In fact, your charging time is optimised if you charge your EV outside the hottest moments of the day.  To find out more, consult our article all about the impact of heat on charging your EV.

5. Spread out your options for greater queueing flexibility 

Diversifying charging options to deal with queues at charging points

As a footnote to our tip #1 – keeping a battery level of at least 20% – we recommend that you plan for several backup options for charging stations. To do this, prioritise geographical areas with several charging stations in the vicinity. On the Chargemap map, you can spot these “station clusters” as they are indicated by a green dot. Don’t forget to add alternative charging stations to your favourites so you can easily find them on the day you set off.

6. Go for rapid charging stations to reduce waiting time

Prioritize fast charging stations in Chargemap
Using the Chargemap power filter to display rapid charging stations only

Finally, if your EV has the capacity, charge at rapid charging stations with a power rating of between 50 and 350 kW whenever possible. As we said at the beginning of the article, there are more and more high-powered en-route charging stations. 

Networks specialising in rapid charging are continuously increasing their coverage across Europe. There’s a broad choice to pick from: Ionity, Allego, Electra, Power Dot, etc.

To compensate for the higher tariffs at rapid and ultra-rapid charging stations, several offers are available, such as the Chargemap subscription for the Ionity network helping you save up to 30% off your ultra-rapid charging sessions. To make rapid charging easier if you are holidaying in France, also think about plugging into the Tesla Supercharger network open to all accessible in France with the Chargemap Pass.

We hope these tips will help you charge hassle-free this summer ☀️🚙
And what about you? Do you have any extra tips to avoid endless queuing at charging points ?

Download the Chargemap mobile app free of charge and plan your charging stops stress-free this summer.

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