A guide to the BP Pulse EV charging network (formerly Polar Plus)
A guide to the BP Pulse (formerly Polar Plus) charging network: how to sign up, where to find the charge points, how to charge your EV, and the payment options.
Knowing where you can charge your electric car is essential for every EV driver. Although car battery technology is improving and car range is increasing, range anxiety is still a concern. Even if you regularly charge at home, knowing where the electric car charging points are along your route helps to ease that anxiety.
This article tells you everything you need to know about BP Pulse, one of the UK’s biggest electric car charging networks – so you never need to worry about charging again.
What is Polar Plus membership?
Polar Plus membership was the subscription service to the Polar Plus charging network – one of the largest EV charging networks in the UK. The UK’s charging infrastructure is increasing faster than ever, and with networks like this, EV drivers have even more opportunity to charge their electric cars when they’re out and about.
Is Polar now BP pulse?
In December 2020, Polar Plus changed its name to BP Pulse – but it remains the biggest electric car charging network in the country. According to Zap-Map, the EV mapping service, in 2020, BP Pulse was the UK’s fastest growing network... and it’s still growing fast!
BP Pulse membership and charges
To join BP Pulse costs £7.85 per month, and the first 3 months are free. There’s no fixed-term contract – meaning you can cancel at any time, with no charges. Read on, to find out more about how you can save as a BP Pulse member.
What are BP Pulse points?
BP Pulse points are the electric car charging points provided by BP Pulse. Currently, the network has more than 8,000 charging points across the UK, including everything from slow (7kW) chargers, through rapid (50kW) units, to ultra-rapid (150kW) charging points.
The network is growing all the time, with plans to have 16,000 charging points by 2030, including 24 ultra-fast 300kW Pulse points along the UK motorway network.
How does BP Pulse membership work?
It couldn't be easier to use BP Pulse as a member:
- Setting up: Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be sent a card or key fob in the post, which gives you access to the network. You can also download the app onto your smartphone.
- Finding your charge point: Take a look at the live pulse-point network map on the website or phone app, to check the current status of all BP Pulse charge points. You’ll be able to see whether they’re in use, available, operational or out of order – making it easy to plan your next charge without worry.
- Get charging: All you need to do is park up, plug in, and tap the charger with your card or key fob to top up your car. You can also top up through the app or the live map. Many of the BP Pulse network's charging points are free for members – and there’s a fee for some.
How much does the BP Pulse network cost?
This depends on whether you’re a member, a PAYG user, or a guest. But being a member ensures you get the cheapest charging prices across the network.
You don’t have to become a member to use the BP Pulse network – a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) service is also available. To use this service, you need to download the smartphone app, create an account, and pre-load a minimum of £5 credit. After you’ve used your initial credit, you can use the charge points whenever you like, and just pay per charge. This charge is slightly higher than the membership charge.
As a member, you pay:
- Fast points: 16p/kWh
- Rapid points: 23p/kWh
- Ultra-rapid points: 27p/kwh
As a PAYG user, you pay:
- Fast points: 20p/kWh
- Rapid points: 29p/kWh
- Ultra-rapid points: 42p/kWh
You can also use the network without signing up at all. Just use a contactless card, Apple Pay or Google Pay to top up at the 50kWh and 150kWh charge points.
As a guest user, you pay:
- Rapid points: 35p/kWh
- Ultra-rapid points: 42p/kWh
Are there any other good EV charging networks?
There are many EV charging networks across the UK, including:
- Charge Your Car: CYC operates a network of charge points across the UK, offering access to charging points on behalf of the unit owners, on a PAYG basis.
- Chargeplace Scotland:this is Scotland’s national EV charging network, owned by the Scottish Government. Charge points are available from Shetland to the Scottish borders, with over 1,800 points for EV drivers.
- Pod-Point: the Pod-Point network has around 4,400 fast charging points around the UK, often in supermarket car parks such as Lidl and Tesco. Many of the points are free to use.
- Tesla: EV giant,Tesla, operates 2 nationwide networks – Destination and Supercharger. Destination chargers are usually at locations like hotels or leisure centres. Supercharger points can be found on motorway and trunk roads, with only rapid charge capability. No access app or RFID card needed.
- Instavolt: This rapid charging network is growing fast. It’s run on a PAYG basis. No subscription, membership, RFID card or app is required – just use contactless payment via a credit or debit card.
Most popular questions around your Polar Plus membership and BP Pulse network:
What happens if I'm already a Polar Plus member?
If you’re already a Polar Plus member, you’ll just need to use your same email address in the new app, and BP Pulse will transfer your details across. For further details about how to do this, see the BP Pulse site.
When does my BP Pulse membership start?
You can start charging your car as soon as you register. All you need to do is download the app to your smartphone and you can charge through the app straight away.
Where can I find BP Pulse network charging points?
The BP Pulse points are easy to find on the network map, which is available either on the website, or though the phone app.
What should I do if a BP Pulse charge point isn’t working?
Contact BP Pulse directly through the app, so they can either fix the charge point remotely so you can get charging, or send an engineer out as soon as possible. If you can’t charge at that particular point, check the app’s map for the next nearest charge point.
Who should I contact if I have a query about energy I’ve been billed for when charging at a BP Pulse chargepoint?
You’ll need to contact BP Pulse directly. This is possible through the app.
What happens if I stop using my BP Pulse card?
It doesn’t matter if you stop using your card. But if you want to stop your membership, you just need to cancel your Direct Debit with your bank. If you were a member before 3rd December 2020, you may also be able to log in to the website to cancel your subscription. Your access card will stop working immediately, and any existing credit will no longer be available.
How do I find out how much energy I’ve consumed charging my car on the BP Pulse network?
You can find out all about your charging history through the BP Pulse app.
If you can’t find the answer to your question here, remember you can always go to the OVO Forum for fast answers from other members.