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How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

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Categories: EVs Explained

Did you know that by using an electric vehicle you could massively reduce the cost of travel per mile? Yes, you read that right. Depending on your vehicle’s efficiency, the size of its battery, and the way you charge your car, you can make incredible savings by switching to an electric vehicle.

Charging an electric vehicle in the UK can cost as little as 1p per mile, compared to 15p per mile for a typical fuel vehicle. But how do you work out the cost to charge your own EV compared to a normal fuel car, and what do you need to do to achieve those savings? This guide will provide you with a clear indication of the costs involved, and how you can calculate the costs for yourself.

The kWh calculation – how can I work out charging costs?

Working out how much it costs to fully charge your electric vehicle is easier than you might think. This can be worked out with the following equation:

Cost per kWh * Battery capacity / 100

Your EV’s battery capacity is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh) and all you need to do is find out the cost of “filling” this battery to its capacity, from the cost of your energy tariff.

Different chargers don’t actually affect the cost of filling your EV battery – only the rate and efficiency at which it’s charged, although certain providers may charge more per kWh for their energy. You should always check your provider’s rate per kWh. You should be able to find this on your energy bill (at home), or on your subscription/pay as you go charging plan – with public charging companies.

How much will this cost me compared to fuelling up?

The comparative cost of charging a car will mainly rely on the price of electricity per kWh. This can range anywhere from 12p on cheaper tariffs, all the way up to 24p on more expensive tariffs. More often, you should expect a cost of around 17p per kWh

A small 40 kWh battery, will cost you around £6.80 to fully charge. A larger 100 kWh battery will cost around £17, but like having a larger tank of fuel, it will provide you with a wider range. 

In the end, it simply comes down to cost per mile. In the UK, across all fuel cars, the cost per mile is on average around 15p. Most modern EVs deliver 4 miles per kWh, and at 17p per kWh you are able to travel at a cost of just of 4 pence per mile with an electric car. That’s almost 4 times cheaper than with fuel!

What are Dual tariffs and how can I make huge savings?

Economy 7, or Economy 10 tariffs, allow the user to receive cheaper kWh rates during “off peak” hours. This is usually overnight between 10pm and 8am. These tariffs can offer a 50% saving on energy costs during those times. The trick is to watch out for peak times – around 5-8pm, where you can be charged more than the average tariff.

Although, the good news is that if you plan ahead, and consider how you use your energy, you’ll discover vast savings. Charging your EV at home can be an excellent way of cutting your charging costs in half, especially if you travel a lot, and charge at home during off-peak hours.

EDF’s “Go Electric 35” tariff will cost you as little as 4.5p/kW, providing power for as little as 1p/mile on some EVs. That’s pretty incredible compared with most combustion engines that cost 15p per mile! 

How much does it cost to charge an electric car while out and about?

Are you thinking of going on holiday, or travelling for business? Maybe you need to pull into a station to top up your battery? But what is it going to cost you? Amazingly, not that much. Costs have really been decreasing lately, thanks to the increased uptake in EVs, demand for more charging availability, and their related regulations.

Some charging points can still be expensive though, and fast chargers on company property – available to the public, can cost up to a whopping 25p/kWh! Although they generally offer very fast charging times, at 25p/kWh for a 40-kWh battery usually costing £6.80 to charge at home, would end up costing you £10 – that’s 32% more expensive! 

The cost will really be down to the operator though, and you’ll be able to shop around to find good locations with cheaper rates, wherever you go.

Where can I charge my car for free?

More locations now offer free EV charging, as the market adapts to new demand and potential incentives.

Some places of work offer free charging for staff, but what’s more likely to be found is free charging at commercial sites like supermarkets, or sponsored brand charging stations such as Tesla’s Supercharger Network across the UK. This network can be free to use for early adopters of particular Tesla models

More free locations are likely to be added in the future, as electric vehicles become more widely accepted, with cheap electricity being provided to commercial organisations, in exchange for gaining footfall. The idea is that while you are charging your car for free, you are much more likely to walk around their shops and spend money. Resulting in a win for both the business and the customer.

How will costs come down?

As the UK moves ever closer to the 2030 ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles, more investment and planning is being conducted to supplement EV demand for vehicles, standards and infrastructure. This investment over time, will bring ranges up, costs down, and increase ease-of-usability. More government and private investment in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure will increase innovation and competition, which is good news for you, and your bank balance. 

The EVHS (Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme) currently offers a grant to anyone installing a home charger, covering the cost by 75% (up to £350) for a maximum of 2 EVs per property. This is a huge incentive with massive savings for the installation of a home charging point.

Concluding on the costs

It’s cheaper than ever to charge your EV from home, using the correct tariffs and making use of the increasingly efficient modern electric vehicles coming out to the market. 

The information provided in this article will help you maximize savings, and improve your overall experience and understanding of the daily use and cost of an electric vehicle, for years to come. The question of “how much does it cost to charge an electric car” should no longer be a mystery. 

The ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030 will keep pushing up the cost of these vehicles, their maintenance and fuel costs, so finding out about charging costs today will save you time, money and a whole lot of frustration in the future.