How Much Does It Cost To Charge An Electric Car?
An important aspect to factor in when considering an electric vehicle (EV) is the cost of charging.
Although rates vary slightly the average price is a good starting point and PodPoint and EDF Energy state that UK electricity has a cost of around 14p per kWh.
The average mileage across all EVs per kWh is 3.5 miles, meaning it costs roughly £4 per 100 miles to charge an electric car.
But what about public charging stations or the costs of home charger installation? Read on to find out everything you need to know about how much it costs to charge an electric car as well as five tips on how to help keep costs down.
Costs of public charging stations
Public charging stations are the equivalent of petrol stations for an EV and are frequented for topping up while out and about or filling up if you don’t have access to a home charger.
Just like petrol stations, public charging stations will vary in price depending on where you are and which networks are on offer. Registration, connection and subscription fees may also be applicable depending on the network all adding to the cost of charging.
Ultimately, public charging station costs depend on which network you use, as you can see in the summary table below*.
*RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification.
In order to find your cheapest or nearest station, we suggest you use ZapMap which uses your location to show you the nearest charging points to you, what connectors there are and the most up-to-date pricing per kWh.
*Information on all major and minor networks with their price and any necessary registration, connection and subscription costs can be found here.
If you’re a Tesla owner, you’ll have access to the supercharger network which is a network of Tesla specific charging stations throughout the world.
Conveniently located near shops and restaurants, superchargers are usually available 24 hours a day and, while often free, have an average cost in the UK of £0.24p per kWh. Some superchargers may also bill per minute of use depending on the speed of the charger. The pricing for each supercharger location can be found from the navigation application on the vehicle’s touchscreen.
Charging at work
Many work places which have parking for staff and visitors now have charging for electric vehicles, which are often free to use and usually charge at a rapid rate and feature multiple connectors.
As a result, charging at work is a great way of saving money and time if you plug in and top up over the course of your working day.
Costs of home charging
If you haven’t got off-street parking where a dedicated station can be installed then home charging won’t be suitable for you. However, there are measures being taken to ensure that there is a charging solution for those who don’t ahead of a mass EV rollout.
If you can take advantage of a home charger though, there are a few factors which affect how much you pay for charging an electric car at home.
- Model of your EV
Depending on where you live you’ll pay a different tariff for electricity which can make significant differences in the long run. Currently the cheapest tariffs can be found in the Midlands and the North of England with Scotland and the South of England being the most expensive.
For example, the cheapest unit rate is the East Midlands at 13.86p/kWh and the most expensive is North Scotland at 15.60p/kWh, a difference of nearly 2p per kWh!
Home chargers vary in cost depending on the manufacturer and its speed, but typically slow 3kW chargers range between £250-£500 and fast 7kW chargers range between £450-£800.
There are also new 22kW chargers that are even more expensive and are typically in excess of £1000. These costs usually include installation, but you may need to pay more depending on the provider.
Type of EV
Different electric cars require less charging time than others due to their battery capacity, range and consumption. This is important because the longer your vehicle takes to charge, the more it will cost to charge it.
Here are a few examples of popular electric cars and how far they can travel per kWh of charge.
5 tips to make electric car charging cheaper
We can’t tell you what type of electric car you should buy in order to reduce the cost of charging, because ultimately a new vehicle needs to suit your needs. But we can give you some steer on how to make charging your EV cheaper, so here are our top five tips to reduce the costs of charging for any model.
1. Compare charging costs of local stations
It’s good practice to compare all your local garages/supermarkets to find out where it’s the cheapest to charge and this is where ZapMap really comes in handy. By being able to determine which networks are available and the kWh charges for each of your local stations, you’ll be able to work out which station is best for you. Just remember to factor in any network connection, subscription, and/or time fees.
Another important factor to consider is the distance to and from each station from your home or place of work and how much charge this journey would use. If you’re travelling too far for your savings, you’ll end up spending more than you’re saving.
2. Take advantage of the OLEV charger grant
The UK government currently offers an OLEV charger grant of up to £350 towards the installation of a home charger to eligible applicants. However, this grant cannot reduce the cost of a charger by more than 75%, so if you’re looking at a slow 3kW charger at £300 you will not get the charger for free and instead only reduce the amount to £75.
While this won’t reduce the cost of every charge, the amount saved on the upfront cost of a charger does make a huge difference. For example, based on the average of 14p per kWh and the average EV mileage per kWh of 3.5 miles, £350 would equate to 2,500 hours or 8,750 miles. Given that a UK driver drives 8,000 miles a year on average, this would be the equivalent to a year’s free charging.
3. Practice ‘top-up’ charging
Top-up charging is the art of making use of any available parked time by charging your car. The idea is to charge whenever you can wherever you can, always keeping the battery in a healthy range and avoiding any longer costly charges at home or at public charging stations.
An example of top-up charging would be shopping at a supermarket that offered free charging for customers and charging your vehicle while you shop. For example, on average an hour’s charge at a supermarket’s 7kW charger could add on up to 30 miles of range to your vehicle.
4. Use work charging points
Another great way to reduce charging costs is by making use of any available charging stations at work. Work charging stations are becoming increasingly common as more and more people and businesses begin to use electric cars. Charging while at your 9-5 can heavily reduce the need for any long home or public charging sessions during the week, leading to some noticeable savings.
5. If you can, have a home charger installed
Home charging uses cheaper tariffs than public charging points once you overcome the initial installation and charger cost (which can be reduced with an OLEV grant as we have seen above) and allows you to be more efficient with your charging allowing you to do safe overnight charging rather than having to plan your journey around your pitstops.