Bonnet aims to alleviate your wallet and phone of dedicated EV charging apps. But can it compete amongst its more established rivals? Find out in this review!
App functionality 4/5
App comes packed with features such as CO2 analytics and charge point profiles
Ease of Use 4/5
Simple to navigate app and easy to follow instructions makes starting a charge session a breeze.
Charging network support 3/5
lacks some of the smaller charging networkshowever Bonnet is working proactively to fix this
Value for money 3/5
A flat pence per kWh makes managing charging costs easy
Available to: Everyone
Sign-up fee: Free
Networks supported: Click here
- Completely contactless / no cards to carry
- CO2 analytics for those tracking their carbon footprint
- Wide range of filters for finding charge points
- No digital wallet support
- Requires an internet connection to work
- The app can have connection issues when starting and ending charge sessions
Dutch start-up Bonnet might not be as recognisable as some other companies on this page, however, that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. In a short period of time, Bonnet has been making huge progress by adding new charging networks and features to become a compelling solution to freeing your phone and wallet of multiple EV charge cards and apps.
Like Zap-Pay, Bonnet is a service that only operates via an app, which means there are no cards or key fobs needed to use the service. Signing up for Bonnet is via the app (compatible with both Android and iOS) and you will even get your first charge for free by using the code FIRSTCHARGE at the sign-up page. Once you have signed up and added a payment method you can start charging straight away.
Unlike other charge card services, Bonnet charges flat rates of 35p per kWh for its pay-and-go service or you can purchase one of three "refill packages".
These monthly packages give you an energy allowance (measured in kWh) to use each month with additional costs if you go over your allowance. Think of it like mobile phone data packages for EV charging and you've pretty much got it.
50kWh for £15 per month (30p for every kWh over 50kWh)
120kWh for £35 per month (29p for every kWh over 120kWh)
200kWh for £50 per month (25p for every kWh over 200kWh)
In addition, any energy in your allowance not used in any month will roll over into the next month’s allowance.
Bonnet’s app is immediately appealing to the eye thanks to a bold colour scheme. To get started you can navigate using the charge point map or by browsing a list of chargers - both have filters available to narrow your search. From the homescreen you can also access your account and app settings.
Starting a charge session using Bonnet is very easy. Simply find the charge point you want, tap your chosen charging unit, tap “start charge” under the connector type you want to use and connect the charge point to your vehicle.
You can also view handy information about any charger such as charge speed and availability. As well as being able to add a charge point to your favourites list, you can also send the charge point’s location to your navigation app which is very useful if your car doesn't have charging points built into the sat-nav.
Alongside the typical map filters (i.e. cable type, charge speed and availability) Bonnet also include a range of unique map filters such as the number of charge points at a location and the ability to hide taxi charge points (which you can be fined for using if you're not driving a registered taxi vehicle).
If you like analytics, the profile tab of the Bonnet app will be right up your street. Here you can track how much you have spent on public charging and how many kWh you’ve topped your car up with each month. If you tap on “stats” in the profile tab, you can also see how much CO2 you have saved by driving an EV instead of an petrol/diesel vehicle.
It's within the app where you can access "perks" to see how many points you have earned through completing Bonnet’s surveys and taking pictures of charge points. The perks haven't been announced at the time of writing, so we were unable to comment on their value.
What's great about Bonnet
Starting and stopping charge sessions using Bonnet is extremely straightforward. Finding charge points is easy and on top of being able to find them on the map, you can search for addresses and serial numbers. You can even get the What3words location.
In my testing, charge point data such as availability and charge speed were always accurate and frequently updated which Bonnet says is due to a combination of its in-house data management software and user inputs (which is encouraged by the perks feature).
Being able to earn rewards through answering feedback surveys and taking pictures of charge points is a neat idea too. Not only does doing this help Bonnet improve its services but it also opens up the possibility to save money on charging costs due to the discounts you can earn through perks.
Speaking of charging costs, having a set price per kWh makes tracking expenses a cinch and negates the need to worry about any hidden fees such as connection or transaction costs. Depending on the charge point network, starting a charge session through Bonnet can actually be cheaper than the charger operator's own prices.
What's not so great about Bonnet
Unfortunately, Bonnet does have some issues.
The first one is, like the other charge cards on this list, there’s no digital wallet support. If the charge point you want to charge at has an RFID reader, it would be nice to have the option of being able to open my digital wallet on a smart device and tap it against the reader to start charge sessions. Bonnet has said this is something it's working on.
The second, and quite major, drawback is that Bonnet cannot be used offline. During testing I’ve been lucky enough to have a stable data connection on my mobile device (which can be something of a rare occurrence in rural Lincolnshire where I live) but if I didn’t, I would be forced to use other methods of starting the charge session. I understand Bonnet doesn’t “believe in dinosaur aged tech” such as fobs and cards, but having no offline backup option could be problematic for users who are experiencing mobile data connection issues.
Finally, the fixed price pay-as-you-go offer from Bonnet can be a double-edged sword. Most charging networks (especially rapid charging networks) have a higher price than Bonnet's rate, however this is not always the case. For example, Alfa Power (which is a Bonnet supported network) charges 30p per kWh (33p if you start a charge session by following the QR code printed on the charge point) which is five pence cheaper than Bonnet’s pay-as-you-go rate. If this bothers you, I recommend considering Bonnet’s refill packages as even the cheapest £15 package works out to 30p per kWh, which is a more competitive rate than most other charg point operators.
Bonnet - the final verdict
Bonnet is rapidly growing with new charging networks and service features added regularly. It will be interesting to see how much further Bonnet grows in the near future.
Once you have downloaded the Bonnet app, getting signed up is easy and using the app to start and stop charge sessions is a breeze. You might run into connection issues might in locations where mobile signal is poor but in our modern world, having no mobile data connection is becoming increasingly rare.
If you are a frequent driver or you don’t have/use home charge points, Bonnet’s monthly refill packages can save you a lot of money, especially the £50 a month package which equates to 25p per kWh.