How to get Cheaper & even FREE CCS Fast Charging with the Bonnet App, my experience

Bonnet is a UK company that entered the market with very agressive pricing quickly gainig traction. In August they already bumped their prices so they are getting less attractive and will probably keep adapting in the future. So all of the tips I share here might work at the moment of writing but could be gone when you read this.

First of all this Bonnet app doesn’t cover all chargers and seems to be limited to Europe to start with. In Belgium it looks like they support the big companies like ionity, fastned and allego including their HPC locations with very fast chargers up to 350 kW. They don’t support some DC options like those from Porsche or the Powerland chargers.

For AC charging I never checked cause they don’t really have competitive pricing for those anyway and my bike is limited to 3 kW AC charging. The point of the app always has been to provide a solution for the high prices at these other companies when you charge without a subscription.

Bonnet provides a sharper price if you prepay some fixed amount. That amount results in credits and as long as you keep topping up each month you do keep the credits you didn’t use. Again, you don’t have to put in money up front. When you start a charge they always reserve a small amount on your credit card, even for free charges.

What I dislike most about the app is how much interaction is needed to get a charge going. You really have to go into the app, navigate on the map to your current location and pick the chargers on that map. Then look at what charger number you’re parked at and select that one in the app again. Hit the “start charging” button and confirm that (yes that is twice indeed). Next wait for the app to tell you to plug in. Next plug in physically and then confirm again in the app that you are plugged in. At some point charging will start.

Using NFC charge cards is literally this; 1. plug in, 2. swipe card… Convenience wise on another level indeed. I only have a subscription for IONITY though and for AC chargers I have another charge card with good pricing. What follows are some tricks to get discounts or even free charging with the Bonnet App.

Ways to get free or cheaper charging

1. Don’t use the app

One of the easiest way to get a discount is to simply not use the app. After a week of not charging I already got a notification from bonnet with a 25% discount for my next charge. Note that these discounts almost always come with an expiration date so keep an eye on that. This one had a 1 week window.

2. Get others to use the app

With referral links you can share with others you will both get some credit if someone else uses yours. If you don’t believe me just use mine and you’ll see. Last time I got a 17,55 EUR credit, not sure if this amount will be changed. The notifications sometimes showed up as 17 GBP instead.

3. Enter discount codes

Another easy way is to enter discount codes. They share these codes on their own website but these are always limited in time and linked to some event. Like them achieving some milestone or earth day and things like that. Best to follow their socials for that.

4. Collect rewards

Also the app is making use of gamification to collect data and improve upon charger information. As a user you get points and everytime you reach 8 points you get a reward. The first time this reward was 11 kWh free charging. I’ll report back what I get next time.

You have some options to get points. You can upload pictures of chargers. Each picture will gain you 2 points. These are verified though so you don’t get the points right away. It takes around 24 hours for them to be handled. Plus I haven’t succeeded in getting more than 2 pictures approved from a charge session at once. So probably best to limit your efforts to 2 pictures at once.

Also it looks like they give 11-12 kWh at max. At least that was my initial impression. At first I got 11 kWh, then used 6 kWh having 6 kWh credit left next I got 6 kWh as a reward bringing my total credit back to 12 kWh. Another more likely explanation could be that the rewards just change or reduce in general. 3rd and 4th reward received by now and both are just 2 kWh added.

Other options are suggesting new charger locations, good for 1 point. And completing surveys. I haven’t done any of these surveys but I suspect these to be charging related. The amount of points you get are different per survey but they go from 1, 2 up to 5 points per survey. See screenshot below of the ones I can pick from at the moment.

In conclusion there are some flaws within the app, also small bugs. But nothing beats free charging!

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