What does it cost to charge an electric car?
On top of the environmental benefits of an electric car, many people choose to buy an EV because of the added cost benefits.
There are specific grants and incentives for buying a new electric car, but there are also tangible financial savings once you’ve purchased an EV.
Let’s start with some good news upfront. Over the vehicle’s life, owning an electric car is likely to cost you a lot less than a petrol or diesel car. This is because the cost per mile driven in an electric vehicle is significantly less than a petrol or diesel vehicle. Plus, because electric vehicles have fewer parts, they require less maintenance.
If you want to know how much it might cost to charge and run an EV, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s our handy guide to the costs of owning an electric car.
How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
First, it’s important to know how energy consumption is measured for electric cars. A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is the amount of energy a 1,000-watt appliance uses in an hour. It’s a useful standard measurement for energy consumption.
Electric car batteries are measured in kWh and the cost of a charging point will be measured in pence per kWh. There are different places that you can charge your electric car – at home, at work or a public charge point. The cost to charge an EV is different for each of them.
The cost of charging an EV at home
You could use the manufacturer-supplied three-pin charger plug to charge your EV, but you’ll find that charging times will be lengthy. Sustained use can also cause problems with domestic sockets. For these reasons, it’s best to use a wall-mounted charging unit if you’re charging at home.
You can get a home charger installed if you have off-road parking, like a driveway or garage, and you can get power to it.
You can choose between a tethered unit (with a charging cable permanently attached) or an untethered unit. Either way, you’ll need to get the unit installed by a qualified electrician.
Luckily, the UK government is offering a £350 grant towards the installation of a charger.
Prices will vary, but you can expect to pay around £500 for a wall-mounted home charger with the grant.
The cost of charging at home will depend on the amount of charging you do, the type of charger you have and your electricity tariff.
According to data supplied by Pod Point (August 2021), charging an electric vehicle at home costs around £9.20 for a 60kWh vehicle. This will provide approximately 200 miles of range, depending on your vehicle.
Let’s take the MG ZS EV with a 44.5 kWh battery as an example. 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 just 3.8 pence per mile. There is now a range of off-peak tariffs that are designed especially for EV drivers. With these tariffs, you can often pay as little as 5p per kWh, which means less than 1.5 pence per mile, or £2.23 for a full charge equivalent on an MG ZS EV. You can find out more on the MG website.
The cost of charging an EV at work
Companies are starting to see the benefits of offering charging points for staff with electric cars.
If the company you work for offers charging points, it’s possible that you may be able to use them for free. In fact, it could benefit the business, as companies can take advantage of a grant for installing charging points. Plus, there’s no benefit-in-kind taxation for the electricity that’s used to charge company vehicles or employees’ private vehicles.
The cost of charging an EV at a public charge point
The cost of charging your electric car at a public charge point will depend on several factors.
Public charge points can be classed as slow (lamppost charging), fast (car park charging) or rapid (motorway charging). Costs will differ based on these power ratings.
Charge points at places like hotels, shopping centres and supermarkets will sometimes offer free charging.
Charge points with a cost attached to using them sometimes have a connection fee. These fees will vary but is unlikely to be more than a couple of pounds. After this, you’ll pay per kWh of electricity.
You’re most likely to find fast, 7kWh chargers while out and about, and these tend to be the most cost-effective solution.
What does it cost to charge an electric car at a rapid charger?
Rapid chargers (chargers that deliver between 50kWh and 350kWh) are often found in motorway service stations and tend to cost more because they are more expensive to install. Rapid chargers can take between 20 and 40 minutes to charge an electric car to 80% and can cost from 25p to 70p per kWh, depending on the provider.
Many charge points require an app or charging card to make a charge point work. Increasingly, chargers are fitted with debit and credit card readers that allow you to access a charge with a quick tap of your card. Apps like Zap Map and WattsUp can show where your nearest charging points are.
What are the running costs of an electric car?
As well as saving on fuel costs, compared to petrol and diesel cars, there are other savings that you’ll make on the running costs of an electric car.
Vehicle tax for electric cars
Vehicle excise duty for cars is calculated on carbon dioxide emissions and currently, pure electric cars are exempt.
Maintenance costs for electric cars
Maintaining an electric car is a lot easier than a petrol or diesel car.
From the pistons and spark plugs to fuel pumps and exhaust, there’s a lot that can go wrong with a regular engine. With fewer parts, an electric car has a lot less to wear out and break down.
As a result, maintenance costs for an electric car can be as much as 50% less than a petrol or diesel car.
Are electric vehicles cheaper to run?
After the initial costs of buying an electric vehicle and having a wall-charging unit installed at home, you’ll start to make savings on fuel straight away.
All cars have the same ongoing costs, like MOTs and insurance. However, with road tax exemption, initiatives and grants, and reduced maintenance costs, many people find that electric cars are cheaper to run.
If you have any other questions about buying and owning an electric car, our plug-in car experts are here to help. Just fill in the “Ask our EV Experts” form.
You can also work out the fuel savings based on your own usage in our handy fuel-cost comparison calculator at the bottom of this blog.
Or pop into Nathaniel Cars’ Cardiff or Bridgend showroom and check out our range of electric vehicles for yourself.