BP Pulse (now beyond an unusable joke)

BP Pulse/Polar are an embarrassment. The working assumption for me is to assume they will not work and avoid if at all possible. The recurring party piece is the charger not recognising that the cable has been attached to the car. Yesterday, it could not activate the AC charger. Another day, it will not recognise that the cable has been connected. Other times, they simply do not work.

I cannot understand how a commercial company can even begin to justify this. Last month at their “impressive” charging hub at Milton Keynes Coachway, 4 out of 10 charging units did not work. Ridiculous.


Place your bets now how long it will be until their next name change to avoid their bad reputation again!

Really though, I fully agree. At this point I don’t even want to see them try to do better. I just want to see them gone. Thankfully the Scottish Government have stripped BP Chargemaster of the contract to run their network, and similarly where I live a lot of the councils are removing their chargepoints and giving other networks the chance to do a better job.


I would rather councils didn’t remove CPS chargers. It’s counterintuitive.

Moving away from CYC if it’s a drop in replacement won’t improve CPS overnight. The issue with CPS is that while the back office is centralised, maintenance and management of the charge points is the responsibility of the operator. CYC can only tell the operator it needs fixed. If they don’t action it then not much can be done.

It’ll be interesting to see if eVolt bring any change. Their charge points are the ones mostly in use on the network today anyway. There aren’t any Chargemaster charge points that I recall seeing.

Unfortunately not true. In the past year they installed a ton of ultrachargers which as usual are terribly unreliable, and to my knowledge will only work with BP Chargemaster and not other networks. They’re either going to end up having to he removed and replaced, or Polar/Pluse is about to suddenly get a larger presence in Scotland.

The ones that have been broken for months or years definitely should be. A long term broken charger is worse than no charger imo.

I don’t know if that’s the case in Scotland, but here in England the ones being removed are instantly being replaced with newer hardware from the new networks. Where I live this was essential anyways since we were amongst the first in the country to get such equipment. A lot of AC posts were 3-Pin sockets, and some rapids predated CCS.

The other networks here in England that have taken up the council contracts all have maintenance as part of the agreement now. It’s not for the council to take care of anymore, and the networks themselves repairing or replacing now. I believe this should be the case with CPS too and feel optimistic about it since Swarco are very reactive even today. If the issue is with one of their units and you bypass CPS support, instead telling them directly they will generally have an engineer repairing it the same or next day.

Thought I’d try my nearest charger yesterday (podpoint at Lidl). What a carry on. Spent half an hour trying to download their app, follow the instructions, which involve topping up their account from your bank. All that to get a message saying that it wouldn’t charge because there was ‘no power’ even though there was. Total farce. If you can’t rely on charging points being available and working the entire concept is dead for anyone wanting to venture ‘out of range’.

If you think Pod Point is bad you’re screwed. They are commonly considered to have the best app. It only goes downhill from here!

Did the charger or app say no power? Was there another car already plugged in and charging by any chance?

I have my car coming on 15th April and this thread is only putting me off… should I be worried that most chargers don’t seem to work which is what I’m getting from this thread? I’m hoping to rely on Zap-Map to see what’s working and what isn’t working. Is there another app that’s as big - if not better?

The issue is with the BP Pulse chargers (and they are the ones linked to the POLAR card supplied as one of two charging cards by ONTO). In my experience the POD chargers (payable or free at certain sites) are reliable and on the whole excellent. A Shell card is also supplied by ONTO and that gives you access to many chargers from quite a few different networks, which tend to be very reliable. Do not let this discussion put you off. I have no issues charging my EV, it is just one very unreliable network.

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Depends what area you live in. If you have lots of CYC or BP Pulse chargers you’re probably going to have a bad time. If you have networks around you that are covered by the Shell card, or even better home charging then it will be a much better experience.

Zap Map is the best for checking the status of chargers, but PlugShare can also be handy at times too. ABRP Will also be usefull for planning longer journeys and where to charge.

Other than that you will want the Onto App for accessing the car, the manufactuer’s app for things like preconditioning and monitoring charging, and then you will also want a few charging apps for the networks not covered by Onto’s free cards. So Electric Highway for motorway charging (for now) and Pod Point for most supermarket charging. And that’s before we get into the small regional charging networks that may around you.

Basically you are going to install a lot of apps in the coming weeks!

Mine w as the only car there (just as well because there was only 1 of the 3 plugs which fitted). It was the charger that said ‘there is no power’. Today, I thought, not to worry, there’s another charger nearby, I’ll try that…it’s on the BP Pulse network. All looked fine. I plugged it in followed the instructions, put the card over the reader, and it said 'ready to commence charging when power is available. Needless to say, after 20 minutes of wasting my time unplugging it and doing it again several times, nothing worked - it wouldn’t charge. Lucky I have an outside socket at home and it makes me realise you could NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS put yourself in the situation where you’re miles away from home and relying on a charger yo be actually available and working. It’s a total joke and may well mean that I just give up on the whole farce,

Are you happy to share the locations of these chargers? There may be reports of issues on Zap Map or Plugshare to say there is a fault, or I might even have personal experience of using them and be able to point out any quirks I know of them.

The “Ready to commence charging when power is available” Sounds like you are using an ABB Charger which has another car already charging on it. Some can only charge one car at a time, others can only do 1 AC and 1 DC Charge together, but not 2 DC. If it’s doing that without any other cars connected then it’s likely a fault with the power supply to the charger.

As a general rule, the BP Pulse network isn’t reliable and you are better off using options covered by your Shell card.

You have a Renault Zoe ZE50 Don’t you? If so then Type 2 AC, and CCS DC should both fit your car. CCS Requires you to pull down the little flap below the main charge port to access it, but that is the one you should be using to rapid charge (note that it will only be rapid if you plug in with a warm battery, and a low level of charge remaining, and then that it will slow down somewhere between 60-80% and then unplug rather than trying to go all the way to full on a rapid charger) - The Type 2 AC Will be about half the speed.

I have no home charging, and have been driving EVs up and down the country for years now. You get used to this with a bit of experience and either learn the good/bad chargers or get really good at planning to work around them.

Yes, it was Front Street Carpark, NE164AB and Lidl, Swalwell, NE163AF

Thanks for the detailed reply. The charger at Lidl was just us there…I tried the one where you had to lift the extra flap down on the car as well, but no joy there either, The charger in Front Street carpark had a Peugeot charging on the other socket.

The Front Street Car Park CYC Chargepoint is listed as out of service. That’s why that one didn’t work. The Lidl at Swalwell does work but can be a pain to get started. Push in the emergency stop, then twist it back out. Within a minute or so it will appear online again in the Pod Point app and you will then be able to plug in. After starting the charge you need to hold the connector in place just until it starts charging and then it should work fine. It’s a known issue but they haven’t bothered to fix.

In terms of your Shell card, there are a pair of Osprey chargers that accept it at Team Valley Retail World. It means a bit of travel but not too far, and would be free to use. I was there yesterday and it worked fine with Zoe, as well as the charger beside me being used by a LEAF. I can at least confirm they are working. It’s going further away from you, but if you ever happen to be near one of the Fastned hubs around Tyne and Wear they are always easy to deal with and never give me any trouble. They also accept the Shell card.

Your BP Pulse card is for the most part useless. The councils got bored of BP and their terrible service. Most of the CYC locations are either broken and getting taken over soon, or have already been replaced by alternative networks who have been given the charging contracts. The only place for miles that it will work reliably is Washington Holiday Inn.

If you want any help getting that Pod Point to work let me know and I will happily head over sometime and talk you through it. It’s not far away and it’s never long before I need to plug in again anyways.

Thanks for all the info. If Lidl at Swalwell is local to you, it would be great to meet there for a few minutes sometime. Just let me know when you’re free. I’m 5 minutes away and work from home, so pretty much anytime is ok with me :wink:

@GreekIronMan As with all forums, you are more likely to hear from users who have had bad experiences than those that have had good ones. Driving an EV can be a challenge, (so can an ICE car) but the seasoned EV’s owners (see speakev forum) would tell you it’s nothing more than… being prepared and common sense. They have been doing this for many years when everything was few and far between!
Have a plan B and a plan C as the network is still evolving.
Use Zap-Map and PlugShare and any other tools to assist your planning along with ABRP too.
Look at the comments for the chargers you are thinking of using.
Most of the EV community will post of failures and any issues.
A lot will post of successful charges, but not all so info may not be current. (Pun intended.)

If you can’t get a free charge via the cards supplied, ensure you know where Instavolt chargers are located on route.


I can also recommend Fastned, which is included with the Shell card and v reliable. They have a few locations in the NE. Washington and Wellington St (near Gallowgate) any good to you?

Big benefit with Fastned is that once you’ve set it up once (another app, I’m afraid!) you can enable autocharge, so you just plug in and walk away. Or you can also just tap the Shell card.


Are you saying you can set up autocharge to use the Shell card as the payment method? I didn’t notice that when trying it in the past!

Yep, you can put the Shell card as your default payment card in the Fastned app. It’s the alphanumeric ID on the back of the Shell card.

Once you’ve done that, charge once using the app to start the charge and then you can enable autocharge.


The sooner shell tesco Morrisons etc start to install there own brand of rapid chargers I think its always going to be a problem far to many company’s to deal with just look at the list on zap map its a joke there need to be 3 main suppliers sooner the government fix this and stop offering contracts to Tom dick and Harry