"How much does it cost to charge an EV?" is a simple question but not really one with a simple answer. Costs can vary between charging networks from anything from completely free, to as much as petrol or diesel.
We decided to take a look at the major, and some of the smaller EV charging networks, to compare pricing as it stands this summer.
How did we calculate it?
It's not simple to compare charging networks 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 then creating an "effective" cost per kWh.
We also needed to have an example EV with which to work out the costs on and for this we chose to base the calculations on owning a vehicle with a 30kWh battery and driving it the UK average monthly mileage of 658 miles. Each public charge was set to be 80% of the battery capacity. These numbers will naturally vary between cars and owners, but simply serve to create a benchmark scenario for the comparison between networks.
Public 7kW chargers
7kW "Fast" chargers are one of the most common public chargers available, that offer charging at speeds suitable when out doing shopping for the afternoon or visiting an attraction for the day.
Included in the data here are home charging rates, using UK average electricity prices. It's worth noting that networks such as Polar Plus and Charge Your Car offer clear value for money, coming in cheaper than even a home Economy 7 meter with our charging scenario of ~8 charges a month to meet the average UK monthly mileage.
- Average cost per kWh: 22.64p
- Average monthly cost for average UK monthly mileage of 658 miles: £42.59 (Petrol: £94.14 / Diesel £75.05 / Charging at home: £27.09)
- Cheapest networks: Chargeplace Scotland, Polar Plus and Charge Your Car
- Most expensive: Source London Flexi
- Charging networks included in this: ESB Ecars Ireland, ChargePlace Scotland, Tesla Destination Chargers, Pod-Point, Charge Your Car, Polar Plus, Char.gy, GeniePoint and Source London.
Public Rapid chargers
Rapid chargers are the sure fire way to get to where you need to be. They generally cost more than slower rate chargers, but with the results shown they are somewhat surprisingly not all entirely more expensive than their 7kW charger counterparts.
Worthy of a mention are Tesla, who currently provide the fastest charging network in the UK with their superchargers delivering up to 120kW, but they are by far from the most expensive.
- Average cost per kWh: 27.40p
- Average monthly cost for average UK monthly mileage of 658 miles: £51.62 (Petrol: £94.14 / Diesel £75.05 / Charging at home: £27.09)
- Cheapest rapid network: Chargeplace Scotland, Charge Your Car and Ecotricity (home energy customer tariff)
- Most expensive: Shell Recharge
- Charging networks included: ESB Ecars Ireland, Source London, ChargePlace Scotland, Tesla Superchargers, ESB EV Solutions, ChargerNet, Instavolt, Ecotricity, Pod-Point, Shell Recharge, GeniePoint, Engenie and Polar Plus.
The UK marketplace for EV charging is broad and offers a range of choices for consumers, which is good to ensure competition and ultimately value. EV owners able to charge at home or at work, have the most convenient option and a full market of energy companies to choose from to bring their prices even lower. But it's surprising to see that public networks, including many free ones, can offer competitive options, albeit at less convenience.
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. We aim to do a periodic review of network prices over time.
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*||658|
|Average UK electricity per kWh*||£0.1440|
|Average UK night rate electricity per kWh*||£0.0788|
|UK Advisory fuel rate cost (Petrol)*||£0.143|
|UK Advisory fuel rate cost (Diesel)*||£0.114|
|Average miles per kWh in car||3.5|
|kW of energy needed per month||188|
|Car battery size (kWh)||30|
|Number of charges required for given monthly mileage||8|
*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.
1st August - Updated the AFR fuel rates for petrol and diesel prices to better reflect more common engine sizes. This was using "up to 1400cc" and is now using pricing for "1401 to 2000cc".