We've compared the latest prices from a number of different EV charging networks in order to work out which ones offer the best value for money as we head in to 2020, a year that is sure to see huge numbers of new EV owners.
A calculated comparison
It's not as easy as simply comparing one charging network to another, as they all have different pricing structures. Some charge by time, some have connection fees, some subscription and some charge by per kWh. To make a comparison, we normalised the pricing structure, working out a monthly cost (converting from annual where appropriate) and created an "effective" cost per kWh, essential for comparing networks who do not charge by the kWh.
We've updated the calculations from last time, so that our calculations are now based on an EV with a 40kWh battery, again charging around 80% (32kWh). Figures are based on driving the latest UK average monthly mileage of 633 miles, and associated data for petrol and diesel costs have been updated with the latest figures. Note that since we last ran these numbers in summer 2018, both petrol and diesel prices have reduced around 1%; whereas average electricity prices have increased by 13%.
Obviously, with all these figures, statistics will vary hugely across vehicles and owners, but they serve to create a benchmark scenario for the comparison between networks.
Public 7kW chargers
There are thousands of 7kW "Fast" chargers across the country now, offering charging at speeds suitable for out shopping for the afternoon or visiting an attractions.
Home charging rates are included for comparison, and these use current UK average electricity prices. Networks such as Polar Plus continue to offer clear value for money, again coming in cheaper than even a home Economy 7 meter with our charging scenario of ~6 charges a month to meet the average UK monthly mileage.
- Average cost per kWh: 25p
- Average monthly 7kW charging cost for average UK monthly mileage of 633 miles: £44.76 (Petrol: £89.25 / Diesel £69.63 / Charging at home: £29.48)
- Cheapest networks: Chargeplace Scotland, Polar Plus and Charge Your Car
- Most expensive: Source London PAYG
- Charging networks included in this: ESB Ecars Ireland, Electric Blue, ChargePlace Scotland, Tesla Destination Chargers, Pod-Point, Charge Your Car, Polar Plus, Polar Instant, Char.gy, GeniePoint and Source London.
Public Rapid chargers
Rapid chargers are increasing in numbers and in speed, with the latest chargers now providing up to 250kW direct to a vehicles battery. This awesome power is often something customers expect to pay more for, but looking at the cost from different operators, the average cost of a rapid charger is only 3p more than a 7kW charge.
Worthy of a mention once more are Tesla, who currently provide the fastest charging network in the UK with their Superchargers delivering up to 250kW, but at just 24p per kWh, they are excellent value (although users of course do have to have a Tesla to use them!). Ionity's network is equally as impressive technically, but their new pricing puts them way out in lead as the most expensive but also above the cost of even petrol.
- Average cost per kWh: 30.65p
- Average monthly cost rapid charging for average UK monthly mileage of 633 miles: £55.43 (Petrol: £89.25 / Diesel £69.63 / Charging at home: £29.48)
- Cheapest rapid networks: ChargePlace Scotland, Charge Your Car and Ecotricity (home energy customer tariff)
- Most expensive: Ionity
- Charging networks included: ESB Ecars Ireland, Source London, ChargePlace Scotland, Tesla Superchargers, ESB EV Solutions, ChargerNet, Instavolt, Ecotricity, Engenie, Pod-Point, Shell Recharge, GeniePoint, Engenie, BP Contactless, Polar Instant and Polar Plus.
There's excellent choice for EV owners between charging operators, meaning better value. It's interesting to see that as well as home electricity prices increasing since we last did this, EV charging network price averages have also increased among the networks we surveyed. Cost per kWh on 7kW chargers by 9% and Rapid chargers by 11%.
Please do contact us if you think we've miscalculated anything or if you'd like to see other networks included which we've missed out.
You can look at the complete data set in our PDF and links to the spreadsheets are given at the bottom of this article.
Given values for calculation
|Average monthly mileage*||633|
|Average UK electricity per kWh*||£0.163|
|Average UK night rate electricity per kWh*||£0.09|
|UK Advisory fuel rate cost (Petrol)*||£0.141|
|UK Advisory fuel rate cost (Diesel)*||£0.11|
|Average miles per kWh in car||3.5|
|kW of energy needed per month||181|
|Car battery size (kWh)||40|
|Number of charges required for given monthly mileage||6|
*Data is sourced as follows.
- RAC Foundation - What is the average annual mileage per car?
- Gov.uk - Average variable unit costs and fixed costs for electricity for UK (.xls format)
- HMRC - How Advisory Fuel Rates (AFR) are calculated
- Zap-Map: Public UK charge networks
- Completely free networks were not included in the averages.
- Some networks, such as Polar, operate some free rapids, which are accessible with the subscription. These are not reflected in the given prices (open to suggestions on how to do this!).
- Data is available to download in PDF, XLSX and Numbers.