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UK’s most used charging network sees record utilisation in 2021 despite lockdown

25 February 2021
  • The bp pulse public charging network delivered almost 20% more energy to customers in the first 40 days of 2021 than in 2020
  • 49% more energy supplied on bp pulse rapid chargers despite 49% less traffic on UK roads
  • Increase in public charging in nationwide lockdown suggests EVs are now essential vehicles for many drivers in the UK

The amount of energy provided by the UK’s most used public charging network[1], bp pulse, increased to more than 2,000,000 kWh in the first 40 days of 2021, a 19% increase over the same period last year.


This comes despite the UK being under heavy COVID-19 restrictions from 5 January, and vehicle traffic down 49% on levels from the start of 2020[2], suggesting that a greater number of EVs are now essential vehicles for many households.


Matteo de Renzi, CEO of bp pulse, said: “Despite the lockdown, demand for EV charging on the bp pulse public network has remained incredibly strong. When motorists are feeling a pressure to complete their journeys as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible, our data shows that they are relying on the bp pulse network.


“With more people working remotely during the lockdown, our smart home chargers are also helping to enable essential journeys. We expect to see significant growth in the next 12 months as we head towards our 100,000th installation, with the new EV market expected to grow by almost 70% in the UK in 2021[3]. And as even more fleet vehicles hit the road as restrictions ease over the coming months, we will be helping businesses to electrify their workplaces and depots right across the country.”


Analysis from bp pulse also shows a continued shift towards faster public charging. Charging sessions using 50kW rapid chargers increased by 36% with energy supplied rising by 49%, while use of 150kW ultra-rapid units was up by 34%, with a 41% increase in energy delivered.


Data from Zap-Map showed that bp pulse added more rapid and ultra-fast charging locations than any other network in 2020 – the ideal type of chargers when people do not want to stop for too long when charging. Contactless bank card payment is available on more than 600 rapid and

ultra-fast chargers on the bp pulse network.

1 The Zap-Map database includes charge point data on c.95% of UK public charge points and records live charging sessions on approximately 70% of these charge points. From these live charging points on the Zap-Map database, in Q3 2020, bp pulse recorded the largest number of charging sessions and the largest aggregate charging minutes. Zap-Map cannot guarantee that all the charging sessions from all the live networks have been recorded as from time to time network connections fail which may result in charging sessions not being recorded.2 Department for Transport, Transport use during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
3 SMMT UK new car and van forecast – January 2021

Notes to editors


About bp pulse

bp pulse (formerly bp Chargemaster) is one of the UK’s leading providers of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and operates Polar, the largest electric vehicle charging network in the UK. Founded in 2008, the company provides a comprehensive, flexible and practical range of electric vehicle charging solutions. bp Chargemaster has supplied over 60,000 public, workplace and home charging units, and is now rolling out 150kW ultra-rapid chargers on bp retail sites. bp Chargemaster is a wholly owned subsidiary of the bp Group. 


Media contacts


Tom Callow

Email: tom.callow@bp.com

Phone: +44(0)7387 418967


Torque Agency Group: Alex Michaelides:

Email: amichaelides@torqueagencygroup.com

Phone: +44 (0)7802 865732