15 of the best UK-based EV apps to use in 2023
In this guide, we select our top 15 most useful UK based apps for electric car owners that are sure to make your lives easier when out on the road. To help you filter through the apps, you’ll also find a handy list of pros and cons for those that we’ve been able to try out first-hand (starred in the list below).
All the apps listed are available in the UK and free to download on both the Apple and Google Play app stores (unless otherwise noted):
EV Route Planners
Best Apps for EV Charging
If you’ve made the switch to an EV, one thing you’ll need to think more strategically about is refuelling. Unlike petrol stations that are dotted on every corner or just off your exit on the dual carriageway, charge points are currently not so readily available. This is where Zap-Map comes in. As the UK’s leading EV charging app covering 95% of the UK’s public points on its network, Zap-Map helps drivers search for charge points, plan longer electric journeys and pay for EV charging across networks using Zap-Pay. Named the winner of the ‘Best Electric-Car App’ at the 2022 DrivingElectric Awards, Zap-Map’s comprehensive database shows over 25,000 charging locations and more than 47,000 connectors.
One neat feature is the Zap-Map Forum where users can share live updates on charge points with an EV community of 150,000 drivers.
If you’re travelling abroad (or drive aTesla) then you will probably want to download PlugShare. That’s because the EV app guides users to public charging locations around the world. It features over 533,000 charging stations across all the major networks in North America, Europe and throughout much of the globe.
Chargers can be filtered by plug type including Level 1, Level 2 and DC Fast Chargers such as Tesla’s Supercharging network. But the best part is that you gain access to the world’s largest EV driver community where more than 300,000 active users contribute station reviews, take photos and add in descriptions about nearby amenities.
Pros | App and card (Elmo Charge Card) for easiest access, largest roaming network in the UK, guaranteed backed by 100% renewable energy.
Cons | No digital wallet.
Paua has offered in app live support for your charging since the very beginning so you can troubleshoot charging. Paua partners with some of the largest businesses in the UK running electric vehicles meaning that they can always bring you the best insights for charging your car.
The UK’s electrical grid has said it will achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2025. Until then, the company’s WhenToPlugIn app will show the best time to plug-in your EV to get the cleanest energy. This is energy that is generated when a high proportion of renewable infrastructure is feeding the grid.
The app allows users to monitor the generation types that make up your electricity supply, it shows how the electricity is being generated in real-time and notifies you about record low carbon intensity. Obviously there will be occasions when our electrical use is inflexible, but changing our routines to avoid peak strains on the grid when fossil energy is likely to kick-in, is an essential part of making the most of your EV.
Pros | Offers lots of free and easy to find charge points, Ability to check available charging points in real-time, Option to start charging EV straight through the app
Cons | Doesn’t yet offer the best route planning features for longer trips
The ChargePoint app is really designed to help EV drivers find designated ChargePoint chargers but it can also find stations from the other major networks too. This is particularly useful if you’re looking for EV apps for a summer road trip.
Currently, ChargePoint has the world’s largest network of EV charging stations in North America and Europe owning over 100,000 charging spots. It will show you where the stations are, how much they are (some are free), how many kilowatts of speed you may get and whether they are in use.
What’s cool is that you activate any charging session from your smartphone by just tapping it on the station. In-app notifications will then pop up giving real-time updates about your charging status. Read more about charging points and EVs here.
Pros | Helps you to save money on electricity, Allows you to have more control over your EV’s battery and charging
Cons | Not yet able to support every EV model, Sometimes stops your EV from charging at the time you want to charge it
Optiwatt was designed to help you save money when charging your electric car. The app will automatically schedule charging for when electricity rates are lowest — usually during off-peak hours — so you can make sure your car is fully charged at the cheapest possible price.
You can also optimise your charging schedule for time price by setting your planned departure times and desired battery levels. Optiwatt can even use all of this information to precondition your car; warming it up before you set off to lessen the impact of cold weather on your EV battery.
This is definitely one to try if you’re looking to get the most out of your EV!
If you are fed up with scrolling through charging stations that aren’t compatible with your vehicle then try WattsUp.
This is an EV route planner and charging assistance app tailored to your needs from the outset. Instead of displaying every single charging station when hitting the search button, the app asks you to set your criteria when you first login so that only charge points applicable to you show up.
“Enjoy the ability to easily view a chosen route knowing that the charger information is comprehensive and precise,” says WattsUp.
It covers all rapid chargers from every network operator in the UK and features live status updates, voice prompts and smart filters.
Chargemap helps EV and PHEV drivers locate charging stations, plan trips, and manage their charging. It covers most European charging networks and has a map with over 500,000 charge points. The app offers powerful filters and a route planner to make charging hassle-free. With a Chargemap Pass, drivers can top up at over 300,000 compatible charging points in Europe.
Chargemap also has a large community of EV drivers who help each other out by logging in new charging stations, adding information and photos, and posting comments on the page for each charging station. The app is compatible with a wide range of EV models, and it knows how to pick out the right charging stations so you can top up your electric vehicle hassle-free.
Pros | 100% contactless payment, Wide availability of filters, CO2 emission data if you’re looking to track your carbon footprint
Cons | Requires internet connection, No digital wallet support
Bonnet is an award-winning EV charging app that provides 24/7 live updates from more than 200,000 EV chargers across 40 popular EV charging networks in Europe, including Ionity, MFG, FastNed, Total Energies, and Allego. The app displays real-time reliability information for every charge point, allowing users to see when a charger is in use, out of service, or blocked. Bonnet also offers a subscription service called Bonnet Boosts, which guarantees users up to 15% off every single charge, regardless of network or location.
You’ll also get in-app live support seven days a week and route planning with Bonnet Premium (currently free in Beta). So whether you’re commuting, on a road trip, or just running errands, Bonnet helps to make EV charging easy, reliable, and cost-effective.
Best EV Route Planner Apps
Pros | Decent estimates on battery use, Options to optimise route to minimise total journey time, Ability to select various route options (e.g. ‘avoid motorways’)
Cons | User interface could do with some improvement, Limited ability to edit routes, App stability also not 100% reliable
ABRP is one of the best EV apps on the market for creating routes.
Just select your vehicle model and preferred networks, enter your destination and hit plan to find the fastest way to get from A to B. What makes it ‘A Better’ route planner than its competitors is all the filtering functions. For instance, you can set your departure time, your departure state of charge, it will let you see an estimate of how much the entire trip will cost, how long you’ll be spending charging with each stop and you can set the maximum range for your vehicle. And this is only scratching the surface.
Pros | Free, No hidden charges, Real time tracking services, Hands-free music control, Voice command, Loads of additional traffic data
Cons | Lack of data in small community base areas, Community-based data unreliable in some areas, Includes ads
Waze has proven popular with both non-EV and EV drivers, with drivers sharing information about traffic, road conditions, incidents, speed cameras, and other useful navigational updates that can help you avoid lengthy traffic jams.
Waze supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto — however if you’re a Tesla driver, you’ll also get a dedicated Tesla Waze website which allows you to use Waze on your Tesla screen, so you can fully benefit from the millions of community updates that make Waze one of the most popular navigation apps for drivers.
As the UK’s largest parking network with over 45,000 locations, JustPark essentially connects drivers with parking spaces. Whether you’re looking for a parking spot or have a driveway you’d like to rent out, JustPark is the app you need. Parking space availability is provided in real-time and you can process pre-booking and payment within a single account. Richard Branson thought it was such a neat idea that the company won his £250,000 Virgin Media ‘Pitch To Rich’ prize.
Better yet, EV drivers that have a home parking space and charger can earn an income by sharing this with the public on JustPark’s platform. This helps fill the gaps in public charging networks and the first £1,000 earned is tax free too!
13. RingGo Parking
RingGo has launched a parking app which allows users to pay for parking in a simple, safe, and secure way. The app highlights the closest RingGo parking zones, allowing users to easily find a place to park in other locations by searching through the map. The app also offers payment options via credit or debit card. With RingGo, users can pay to park across London, as well as in Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Sheffield, and other UK towns and cities.
RingGo will also has a space availability solution that indicates where parking spaces are most likely to be found, as well as a bay sensor information feature. RingGo Corporate is also available for business parking, and users can download their VAT receipts if they want to pay and claim.
Best EV Management Apps
This FCA-approved app enables drivers to manage all their car needs from one place. Users can set up Caura with just a vehicle registration number and take care of their parking, tolls, MOT, road tax, car insurance, congestion and clean air zone charges. The app thereby reduces all of the vehicle-related admin and mitigates penalty fines. Though this isn’t an app specific to EV drivers, we think it is a must for any driver.
As Caura’s founder puts it: “The billions of pounds in penalty fees UK consumers incur from mistakes or late payments for parking, congestion charges, road tax, tolls, MOT and insurance aretotally avoidable.”
Caura can be used for a single vehicle and can also support multiple registered vehicles. This makes it ideal for fleet managers.
15. EV8 Switch
This is like an EV suitability test for those considering going electric.
Launched by the UK government, EV8 Switch shows you if transitioning to an EV is the right option by outlining how to reduce your carbon footprint, how much money you could save and by making bespoke EV recommendations.
For the app to work, you have to compare EVs against your existing vehicle, so it monitors and logs the journeys you take in your current vehicle for 14 days to unlock personalised insights, advice and recommendations.
One of the best features is its ‘Switchability Score’ that you receive after the 14 day challenge as this indicates how suitable an EV would be for your needs.
Can Google Maps find EV charging points?
Google recently announced a new set of Google Maps features for EV drivers that have the company’s navigation tool built-in. These features aim to improve the experience of finding the right EV charging station and to plan trips when charging might be necessary. Google Maps will now suggest charging stops on shorter trips and includes a ‘very fast’ filter for when you’re searching for charging points. It will also show you when a place has a charging station on-site in the search results.
How can I pay at public EV charging stations?
Various payment methods for public EV chargers include credit or debit cards, network apps, and RFID cards. Some apps, like Bonnet, will also allow you to charge your EV and pay for the service at the same time. With an elmo subscription, our elmoCharge public charge card option also allows you to charge seamlessly at over 20,000 charging points across mainland Britain, access charge points from 20 leading network providers incl. Connected Kerb, Shell & Osprey, and pay for all your charging through your elmo account.
Do I need a smartphone to charge an electric car?
You don’t need a smartphone to use most public charging points. While some networks offer quick access through smartphone apps, many of the fastest networks now offer contactless payment options for easy and seamless charging.
We know that charging an EV can come with lots of questions, so to help you out we’ve put together some useful guides for you to check out below. You can also take a look at our in-depth review of NewMotion’s charging study or check out our latest blog post on charging an EV at home without a driveway.