Owning an electric car is becoming easier and easier to justify. Not only are you winning some environmental brownie points and benefitting from tax grants, there are also now longer ranges available as well as exemption from certain charges and fees.
One of the biggest selling points of an electric vehicle is that they are cheaper to run than a conventional petrol or diesel model. The cost of charging an electric vehicle will vary depending on the charging location; either at home or using public charging stations. But just how much does it cost to charge an electric car?
How to calculate the cost to charge an electric car
Working out the cost to charge an electric car is a bit more complicated than that of a petrol or diesel model, as it works in kilowatt hours rather than miles per gallon. Kilowatt hours (kWh) is a measure of the available energy storage available in a battery. The MG ZS EV, for example, has a 44.5kWh battery, which is higher than most standard UK models in a similar price range.
To calculate how much it costs to charge your electric vehicle, you first need to look at the cost of the electricity either at your home or the public charging point. You will need this in pence per kilowatt hour.
In simple terms, the calculation is the size of the vehicle’s battery in kWh x electricity cost in pence per kilowatt hour – this will give you the cost to fully charge your vehicle.
This figure, however, should be taken with a pinch of salt as it is unlikely that you will ever charge your vehicle from empty.
Cost to charge an electric car at home
Charging your vehicle at home is the easiest and most cost-effective way to power your vehicle. You can charge overnight at a reduced rate and wake up with a full battery, ready to go. Charging an electric vehicle at home costs around £8.40 for a 60kWh vehicle, according to data supplied by Pod Point. This will provide approximately 200 miles of range, depending on your vehicle.
Extra costs are incurred for home charging, as you will likely need to install a home charging unit. These are typically around £1,000, but the majority of electric vehicle owners will be eligible for a Government grant to assist with this cost. You can read more about charging your electric vehicle at home in this article.
The MG ZS EV has a 44.5 kWh battery. The average cost it would take to charge this battery from empty is £6.23. With a range of 163 miles this works out at a staggering 3.8 pence per mile to power our newest model.
Charging your vehicle at public charge points
Public charging can be a cost-effective way to charge your car – but often charge points require a subscription or limit the amount of time you can charge for.
With most suppliers, you can use a free to download mobile app to find charge points near your location and start your charge. Some slightly older charging stations may require an RFID card, which works in a similar way to a contactless debit card. With an RFID card, charging can be ordered online. With more up-to-date app-enabled charge points, the supplier will set a generic tariff and you can pay for your charge in app.
For operators such as Chargemaster, Source London, Pod Point and Ecotricity, you will need to create an account with the company which usually comes with a yearly or monthly subscription fee, with prices from £4 per month plus the cost of your charge. Often you will find that the pence per minute price is reduced for those signed up to a subscription plan.
Looking specifically at costs, some locations such as hotels and shopping centres will allow you to charge for free, but on average most public chargers cost around £1.50 per hour.
Cost to charge an electric car at rapid chargers
Rapid chargers, which provide a much faster charge to your vehicle, are typically found at motorway service stations and vary from being free to use, to one of the most expensive ways to charge your electric vehicle. Rapid charging is generally more expensive as the charging stations are more powerful and efficient than a standard public charging point.
Some providers such as Pod Point will offer this service free of charge in selected locations, such as Lidl, whilst other locations from the same provider cost approximately £6.25 for 30 minutes of charging. This is equivalent to around 100 miles of range.
An Ecotricity charger at a motorway service station will cost approximately £3 for 45 minutes of charging, plus 17p for each kWh of electricity. However, if you are an Ecotricity home-energy customer, you get a 50% discount on rapid charging costs.
The cheapest way to charge your electric vehicle
If you have the ability to charge your vehicle at home, this is undoubtedly the cheapest option, allowing you to run your electric vehicle for a fraction of the cost of a conventional petrol or diesel vehicle. Charging at public points only is still cheaper than fuel, but your savings will be significantly less, and involves the added stress of finding a public charging point!
Want more information on electric vehicles? Take a look at our full list of articles to find even more useful tips about electric cars and our range.More Articles