How much does it cost to charge an EV?
When you make the switch from petrol to electric, you’ll want to work out the easiest and cheapest ways to keep your EV battery topped up. We explore the different charging options for electric cars – and exactly what each choice will mean for your finances.
Home charging vs public charging
Your first decision as an EV owner is where to charge your vehicle. Getting your own charger installed at home is more convenient and it also works out quite a bit cheaper in the long run. In fact, charging an electric car at home is less than half the price of using public charging stations – and both are cheaper than filling up with petrol.
How much does it cost to charge an EV at home?
The exact amount you’ll spend on charging your EV depends on a few different factors. Obviously, the amount you drive will have a big impact, but the cost per kW on your electricity tariff is important too.
It’s worth bearing in mind that not all EV batteries are the same. Petrol and diesel cars have different sized tanks – and some EV models have bigger batteries than others.
Is a home charger a good investment?
There are different types of charger, and while charging at home is much cheaper than using public charging stations… but there are a few things to consider.
The first is the cost of the charger. It’s the biggest outlay and needs to be installed by a professional electrician. Check out the installation package from British Gas and Hive to find out more.
The other thing to think about is whether your property is actually suitable for a home charger. Not all homes are. To get your own charger installed, you’ll generally need:
- Private off-street parking: many installers will only install a home charger at properties with a drive or a garage.
- Permission: if you rent or live in a flat, you will need permission from the owner or freeholder before installing a home charger.
Can I charge at home without an EV charger?
Yes, you can charge your EV directly from a normal mains socket instead of a special EV charger. But this is much slower.
Using a normal plug (often supplied as an emergency backup with your EV), you’ll get charging speeds of just 3kW, compared to 7kW with a home charger – and up to 50kW at a rapid charging station.
In terms of charging time, a 3kW charger will take 12 hours or more to fill your battery. This comes down to 6-8 hours with a 7kW home charger, and just 40 mins with a 50kW rapid public charger.
Is it worth being on a special EV tariff?
Most energy suppliers are not currently offering EV tariffs to new customers because of disruption in the energy market. Hopefully things will return to normal soon and you’ll be able to shop around for the right deal, if you decide an EV tariff is right for you.
Are EV tariffs good value for money? There’s no hard and fast rule about this because everyone has different driving habits. But generally, the more you use your EV, the more worthwhile an EV tariff is likely to be.
There are two different types of EV tariff to choose from.
Time of use: this kind of tariff gives you a discounted rate for electricity during off-peak hours, such as 12am to 5am. Any electricity you use at home during this time will be charged at the lower rate.
Type of use: this kind of tariff gives you a discount on your EV charging, whenever you do it – but everything else in your home is charged at the normal rate.
What are the costs of public charging?
More public charging stations are appearing across the country all the time. The costs of public charging vary quite a bit, depending on:
- The rates charged by different suppliers
- The cost of electricity on the energy markets
- Whether you’re using a slow, fast, rapid, or even ultra-rapid charger
Can you charge your EV for free?
The good news is that the answer is yes.
For one thing, more and more workplaces are offering EV chargers for employees – and these are often free to use, or at least heavily discounted.
But free charging doesn’t just exist as an employee perk.
There were roughly 36,000 charging stations in the UK in November 2022 – and as many as 3,961 of them were completely free. The majority of these are at supermarkets, with most of the rest in public car parks, at dealership forecourts and at hotels and attractions. Availability varies by area too, with Scotland having the most, following by London and the South East.
How else can you reduce the cost of running an EV?
If you’re a cost-conscious EV driver, there are other ways of minimising the amount you spend on charging your vehicle. As with petrol cars, small tweaks in the way you drive can save energy. These include:
- Using ECO mode if your car has it
- Driving smoothly to avoid strong acceleration and braking
- Conserving energy with your EV’s regenerative braking
- Only turning on heating or aircon if you really need to
Ready to start your EV journey?
EVs are good news for the planet – and it needn’t cost the Earth to keep them on the road. That’s why more and more people are making the switch to electric driving.
Ready to join them? Our friends at Hive make it easy and affordable to get an EV charger installed at home.