A VW ID.4 in a forest

Charging your electric car: no garage? No problem!

Although it is practical for owners of an electric car to have their own garage or driveway with a charging station, it is not essential. After all, in most cases, cars do not need to be charged every day – and people are used to driving to a petrol station to refuel. 

Find out more about charging without a garage or a driveway here:

  • There are many alternatives to having your own wallbox in your garage to charge an electric car.
  • Around 1,000 new public charging stations are being installed every month – and the pace of expansion has been increasing.
  • More and more large chain stores are installing electric car charging stations for customers in their car parks.

The number of charging stations is on the rise. There were around 43,000 public charging stations in the UK  May 2023 according to Zapmap. And the expansion of public charging stations is gaining momentum with around 30% growth of new charging stations seen from 2021 to the end of 2022.

The charging station map, part of the Volkswagen We Charge1 Service, which is regularly updated, is useful for electric car drivers. It shows how many charging options there are close to your home. Simply download the We Connect ID. app to make the most of the benefits of We Charge. So now you can keep an eye on your charge management and charging options on the road via the in-car app, and outside your vehicle as well. The map shows the network of charging stations in most areas of the country – but what do you need to do if there are few or no charging stations near you?

A mother and child charging an electric VW vehicle

Towns, cities and energy suppliers are expanding their charging network

Town councils and local authorities can inform you about planned future sites for charging stations. But it's also worth contacting local energy providers to enquire about their plans to expand the charging infrastructure. What's more, many people often drive to the same place, such as to work. Increasing numbers of companies are converting their company car fleets to electric cars and installing charging stations. This allows employees to connect up their private cars and charge them at work, sometimes even free of charge. And if your employer lets you charge your car free of charge, this is not taxed as a benefit in kind.

As another option, perhaps you regularly park at the same car park, because it's close to your gym, say. More and more car parks are now installing their own charging stations. So while fitness fanatics are working out, their cars will also be recharging their batteries.

Watch the game, charge your electric car

Amsterdam was the first city to install charging stations for fans to charge their electric cars in the Johan Cruijff Arena car park. And some clubs in the German Bundesliga football league are following suit. Borussia Dortmund was one of the first clubs to install charging facilities at its stadium.

There are even 76 charging stations at the Volkswagen Arena, home to VfL Wolfsburg, Volkswagen's home town. Here in the UK, there are charging stations at many stadiums, including Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, and The London Stadium – the home of West Ham.

A man charging a VW ID.4
...the real benefit with some of these providers: customers can charge their electric car for free. 

Free electricity at discount supermarkets, furniture chains and restaurants

Large supermarket chains, fast-food restaurants, DIY stores and furniture stores often have charging stations installed in their car parks. This is a practical service for the owners of electric cars without a garage or private wallbox and, of course, a clever marketing ploy for the provider.

The time you spend shopping or dining is often long enough to recharge your battery, depending on its capacity and charge. And the real benefit with some of these providers: customers can charge their electric car for free. A retailer's 'Store Finder' or website will usually indicate whether a store already offers a charging station for electric vehicles, and its opening hours.

Besides charging in retailers' car parks, many towns and cities have charging facilities close to their pedestrian zone or in the car park of a shopping centre. So you can quickly charge your electric car while you shop at charging stations with higher charging power. Generally you only have to pay to charge your car, and can park for free.

So, there are plenty of alternatives to charging your electric car at home. The network of public charging stations is growing rapidly and, with a little luck, you will also find an easily accessible parking space while you shop – exclusively reserved for electric cars.

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