Cost of Charging an Electric Vehicle: What Are the Costs to Remember?
One of the UK’s solutions to cut down carbon emissions and help improve environmental issues is phasing out the sales of pollutant-producing diesel and petrol cars.
Once implemented, electric vehicles could be everywhere! If you were not convinced to buy an electric car (and learn how to charge it) before, it is time to change that mindset!
Fluctuating energy prices may make EV ownership sound unfeasible, but many energy suppliers offer a fixed tariff to help homeowners.
We’ll tackle how much it costs to charge an electric car, different charger types, and more. Keep reading!
Factors that Affect the Costs of Charging an Electric Vehicle
The cost to charge an electric car depends on various details like the type of charge point, its location, and the electricity type.
Type of Charger
The UK is all-in on renewable energy, reflected by the number and type of charge points across the UK.
Electric vehicle owners can use various charge points to stabilise their batteries, including slow and rapid chargers.
Slow charge points are more suitable for home chargers and offer lower prices but slower per kWh (kilowatt-hour) charging.
Conversely, rapid chargers are the most efficient (and expensive) per kWh chargers. Check your electric car’s charging port to know which chargers you can use.
EVs lack a universal charging port standard, but electric vehicle manufacturers provide their models with the required cable and plug.
Location of Charger
Charging an electric car at home is the best way to keep your costs and expenses down, but it takes a great investment to install a home charger, causing it to be unfeasible for some EV drivers.
Fortunately, public chargers are available throughout the UK at car parks or service stations. A motorway charging station typically offers rapid charging points but at higher costs.
Diesel cars have yet to apply per-mile efficiency to their systems, but the change will soon happen as EVs are steadily growing!
The electric vehicle charging infrastructure across the UK needs to expand to accommodate this expected switch.
Type of Electricity
Charging units are classified by charging speed (per kWh) and can be further classified by their output: AC and DC.
Different charging units will provide your EV with either AC or DC energy. Slow and fast chargers typically output AC energy at a lower cost per mile.
AC charging has a lower electricity cost per mile, but your EV will also charge slower to compensate. Rapid chargers typically output DC energy at a higher cost per mile.
Keep an eye on energy prices before charging your EV to help keep costs down.
Average Cost of Charging Electric Vehicles in the United Kingdom
The costs of charging an electric car will vary depending on your electric car’s model, its per kWh capacity, and its location; essentially, there is no fixed rate!
Standard Home Chargers
Standard home chargers are the key if you need to charge an electric car. Many EV drivers install a home charging point as a convenient and cost-effective solution.
This will impact your home electricity bill, but it’s the cheapest way to charge an electric car by a wide margin unless you often use free chargers.
For 32p per kWh and a full “tank” of 80kWh, home charging will cost about 25.6£. However, note that home chargers are typically the slowest type of charger.
To reduce per kWh costs of charging your EV, ensure you find a suitable electricity tariff for your home. Contact your electricity supplier to find the best home energy tariff.
Electric car owners who install a home charging point may be wary of the increased electricity cost per kWh, but they won’t feel the impact unless they drive a high-capacity EV.
NOTE: A home charging point is best installed in homes with off-street parking to maximise your driveway and enjoy the lowest charging fee.
Keep Home Charging Costs Down
Installing a home charger is a one-off cost that’s cheaper than using public chargers. However, be mindful of the long-term electricity costs.
It’s best to charge an electric car at home to keep costs down, but it will impact your electricity bill. To combat this, homeowners can take advantage of off-peak prices.
Many electricity suppliers offer a cheaper fixed tariff for charging at off-peak times, like late at night until early in the morning.
The government has introduced new electric vehicle charging regulations to encourage the installation of home charge points to aid car owners in switching to EVs.
Depending on the charger’s location, public charging is another viable option for EV owners with different costs depending on which network you’re connected to.
Charging an EV at public charging points can cost between £7-£20 and above, depending on your EV’s capacity.
This assumes you use a rapid charger from around 20%-80%, as most EV owners don’t wait for their batteries to drain fully. The per-mile cost depends on your EV’s range.
Many establishments and even car parks offer free charging points where you can top up your EV. However, remember that these chargers are typically reserved for paying customers.
Several workplaces have stepped up support for electric cars and have installed workplace charging points for their employees.
These workplaces typically offer free charging for a set time before requiring employees to pay for them.
If your workplace has recently installed a charging station, contact them to learn whether they offer a free charging period and how much it’ll cost to charge your EV afterwards.
The OZEV (Office for Zero Emission Vehicles) has also implemented a grant scheme to ease the financial burden of charging point installation for workplaces.
Benefits of Charging an Electric Vehicle
Here are some of the pros of charging electric vehicles.
Lower Running Costs
Electric car charging is significantly cheaper than refuelling a petrol or diesel car, even with the average UK electricity price where it is now.
It’s easy to keep the average running costs of an EV below 50p per kWh, assuming you stick to home charging.
Once you exceed 50p per kWh, you’ll be paying more per mile than petrol car owners, which is inefficient.
That said, there’s an exception to every rule, and here it’s rapid chargers. Rapid charging costs more per mile because they output the most power to top up EVs quickly.
Rapid charge points are typically found at motorway service stations and offer a quick but expensive way to top up your electric vehicle.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the number 1 reason customers want to switch to electric vehicles!
A petrol car may be more efficient per mile (for now), but it’s much worse for the environment!
The UK gov’t is also incentivising environmentally-conscious EV owners and workplaces through OZEV schemes.
An EV can also keep fuel costs down in the face of another energy crisis, especially since the per-mile efficiency of electric vehicles will only improve with time.
Where Can You Charge Electric Cars?
Now that we’ve covered the cost of charging an EV, it’s prudent to tackle where you can find an EV charging point.
According to Zap Map, there are over 40,000 electric car charging points across the UK, from car parks to motorway service stations. You can also check your EV’s sat nav to find the nearest charge point.
If your EV has poor per-mile efficiency, you can join a subscription network like Shell Recharge or Ecotricity. Some of these networks offer free charging after paying a subscription fee.
Certified electricians can familiarise themselves with the installation requirements for electric car charging stations as these networks expand.
EV owners who choose not to join a subscription network can visit their local supermarket.
Many supermarkets offer a public charging point, typically at lower prices than rapid car park charging stations.
Note that these cheaper prices only apply to slower per kWh chargers! Using a rapid charger will cost more per mile.
The Tesla Network
If you own a Tesla Model S or similar Tesla EV, it’s impossible to have trouble finding a public charging point, given how popular Teslas are.
Tesla owners benefit from the company’s Supercharger network for faster charging!
Unfortunately, these charge points aren’t free; Tesla owners will pay an average of 69p per kWh, but this can change depending on the location. It’ll cost roughly 79p per kWh for non-Tesla owners.
Search Zap-Map or visit your nearest motorway service station and plug in to find a Supercharger. Tesla owners can plug in and start charging, and their touchscreen will inform them how much it costs.
A few Superchargers are open to non-Tesla owners but require Tesla’s mobile app. After logging in, you can monitor your EV’s charging progress.
Mind Tesla’s idle fees; if your EV’s fully charged and the Supercharger station is 50% full, you’ll incur an extra 50p/minute cost if you stay for more than 5 minutes.
The Destination network is an alternative to Tesla owners that do not need the Supercharger network, especially if they do not wish to spend more expenses for it!
The Destination network is aimed at drivers staying overnight at hotels or resorts and needing to charge their electric vehicles overnight.
Destination chargers are slower but free to use, so long as you’re a customer of the owner’s establishment.
How Fast Can You Charge an Electric Car?
EV charging speeds differ depending on the type of charging unit. Charging speeds are divided according to their power output and a per kWh basis.
You don’t need to stick with a petrol or diesel car, especially when electric cars have become more efficient as car manufacturers continue to advance EV tech.
Charging a high-capacity battery typically means a greater cost per kWh and poorer per-mile efficiency.
- Slow Chargers – With an output of 3-6 kW of AC power, slow charging can take 12-16 hours to charge an EV fully.
- Fast Chargers – Fast charging outputs 7-22 kW of AC power and can take 7 hours to charge an EV fully.
- Rapid Chargers – A rapid charger outputs 50-350 kW of DC power, depending on the connector. These can completely charge an EV in an hour or less, while some ultra-rapid chargers can top up an EV in 30 minutes.
REMINDER: Apart from charging speed, EV owners also need to consider their car’s battery capacity.
What About Self-Charging EVS?
You may be under the assumption that some electric cars charge themselves, but that’s not quite correct.
The closest EVs have come to “self-charging cars” is the idea of regenerative braking, which bears an explanation. A traditional car uses friction braking, which is effective but energy-inefficient.
Many plug-in hybrid EVs use both electricity and an internal combustion engine (ICE) to power their brakes, capturing the braking energy and converting it into extra energy.
This energy isn’t sufficient to completely recharge an EV, but it’s enough to improve your electric car’s per-mile range.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Learn more about electric car charging here!
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Battery in an Electric Car?
If you’ve bought an electric car recently, it’s prudent to consider repair costs and maintenance. One of the highest costs you’ll encounter is the battery.
Installing a new electric battery can cost between £7000-£10,000 on a per kWh and model basis. That’s because EV batteries are priced per kWh, so replacing an electric car with a larger battery capacity will cost more.
Many car manufacturers, like Mercedes-Benz, offer warranties to reduce EV battery replacement costs. These warranties operate on a per-mile (100,000) or per-time (8-10 years) basis, whichever comes first.
How Many Miles Can an Electric Car Go?
An electric car can travel anywhere from a meagre 80 miles to a whopping 400 miles on a single charge, depending on your EV’s model and efficiency per kWh.
Note that few electric cars have reached that top mileage, the Tesla Model S being notable among them. Fortunately, finding a charge point along the road has recently become much easier.
You can improve your EV’s mileage per gallon (MPG) with regular maintenance. However, one of the disadvantages of using electric vehicles is that they haven’t caught up to the efficiency of petrol and diesel cars.
How Long Do EV Batteries Last?
Given enough time, all-electric vehicles will begin having issues with their battery health, despite proper care.
However, with proper innovation and testing, this underlying issue will eventually not be a concern for all of us!
An electric car’s battery was built to last 15-20 years before replacements become an option. However, that’s only an indication at the time of writing; it’ll certainly improve.
It’s also worth noting that given how EV batteries will continue to improve, they are also useful even if they don’t work for your car anymore!
If you have a solar system, you can use these batteries as energy storage, which results in less waste and more renewable options!
So, “How much does it cost to charge an electric car?” It depends on how you operate your EV’s per-mile range and whether you’re going for a top-up or recharging from almost empty.
Because of its function and operations, electric vehicles are cheaper to run and cleaner than petrol cars and don’t cost as much to refuel per mile.
Thanks to the UK’s shift to electric cars, finding an EV charger will only become easier as time passes, and the cost of charging an EV will become cheaper!