Often, a key reason for buying an electric car is for its environmental benefits. As such, many drivers will switch to an EV-specific energy tariff when charging at home, which makes things both cheaper and greener as they usually guarantee 100% green electricity.
When an electric car rolls off the production line, it has "cost" more emissions to build than a comparable petrol or diesel model, largely because of the battery pack. However, if you charge an electric vehicle on renewable electricity, it produces virtually no emissions of any sort for every mile driven, while cars using fuel will constantly add to their "emissions bill".
As such, by driving an electric car on renewable electricity, you make the car greener faster, quickly reaching the tipping point where it is a more environmentally friendly vehicle.
Although a large number of networks use renewable electricity, we have highlighted some of the key UK-wide network operators, which will make green charging on long trips easy.
As one of the largest charging networks in the UK, it's good to know that Gridserve is backed by 100% renewable electricity. It extols a "sun-to-wheel ecosystem" using zero-carbon energy across its network.
In fact, Gridserve is one of the few networks that actually generates its own electricity. With solar farms and energy storage systems installed at sites across the country, Gridserve is an EV charging network, energy supplier, and EV leasing firm.
Fastned is currently a small network in the UK, but it's growing fast. And it is positively huge in Europe, particularly the Netherlands and Germany.
Backed by 100% renewable electricity, Fastned also often builds canopies over its ultra-fast charging stations, which have solar panels in the glass to generate electricity. Although this isn't typically enough to power all the needs of those vehicle charging, it does help support the network's needs.
Instavolt buys all its power from 100% renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar farms. Having been set up from very early days of the network's roll-out as a green public charging network.
Running a network of rapid and ultra-rapid points across the UK, Instavolt has grown quickly to become a crucial part of many EV driver's cross-country trips.
Osprey's charge points are powered by Octopus Energy electricity, which uses 100% renewable energy. This means that electricity is generated from sources such as the sun, wind, and water.
Osprey's a rapid charging network, which is starting to roll-out charging hubs using the latest high-power chargers, and is a leader in making charge points accessible for all users.
Like Osprey above, GeniePoint also uses Octopus Energy, so all of its charge points are are backed by 100% renewable electricity.
The network offers a mixture of rapid and fast charge points across the UK, with a strong link with Morrisons supermarkets, which valuably filled a number of gaps in the UK's public charging infrastructure a few years ago.
Mer is currently a relatively small charging network in the UK, though like Fastned above, it's growing fast. With roots in the booming Scandinavian EV charging market, Mer is owned by Statkraft, which bills itself as Europe's largest renewable energy producer.
Using only wind, hydro, and solar-powered electricity across its energy business, Mer is backed by one of the most comprehensive 100% renewable electricity guarantees of any network.
Ionity is a key network for long distance travel, with high-power EV charging points across not only the UK but Europe too. Established by a number of car manufacturers to aid EV drivers' cross-continental travel, it is welcome news that those using it are charging from electricity sourced from wind, water, sun, and biomass sources.
As of Tesla's latest Impact Report from 2021, its Supercharger network is powered by 100% renewable energy - not just in the UK but around the world. Thanks to energy storage solutions rolled out, and some sites able to generate its own solar power, the network is 100% renewable, which is important not just for Tesla drivers.
Trials are being expanded that see Tesla Supercharger sites being opened up for use by anyone with an EV with a CCS inlet, which means that the 100% renewable backing is good news for an increasing number of EV drivers.
The above list is by no means exhaustive, with other networks also committed to using renewable electricity, eitherwhere possible, or across the board. This includes the likes of BP Pulse and Shell Recharge, which are both backed by renewable electricity guarantees, though haven't been featured as "green" networks because of the clear links to their oil-based parent companies.
Clearly, these are being run as separate, renewable operations, but some will criticise the oil roots of the networks. However, we feel that any comprehensive EV network that uses renewable electricity should be applauded, though a compromise has been made by adding them to the "Other networks" section.
There are other networks such as EDF which are currently small but expected to grow that are backing points with green electricity, as are ESB points in Ireland and the UK, and others such as local hubs in Oxford and York.