There are now more than 800,000 electric cars on the road in the UK. EVs are cheaper to run, better for the environment, and there is more choice. For rideshare drivers, programs like the Uber Clean Air plan are designed to ease the financial effort it takes to own one.
Although myths about EVs are still out there, it’s important to be well informed about how much of an investment an EV really is. Charging is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to living with an EV.
Whether you opt for a home charger or choose to make regular runs to public charging stations, you may be wondering how much money this means for you.
A home charger is a unit that can be put on a wall. It has a connected charging cable or a socket that you use to plug a portable charging cable that comes with your car.
Installing a home charger is the ideal option, if you live in a house or have access to a private parking spot. It’s not only cheaper on the long run, but easier and more accessible. Just like a mobile phone, you just plug in and charge your car overnight and have it ready to go next morning.
The cost of home charging depends on a few factors, such as the battery size of your EV, the type of charger you install, as well as the energy tariff you usually pay in your area.
IMPORTANT: An electric car has either a Type 1 or a Type 2 connector and you need to choose a home charger that’s compatible with it.
Charging your EV at home using a domestic three-pin plugs is not recommended because of long charging times, as well as safety reasons. You can install a home wallbox that costs around £600-£1,000 and delivers up to 7kW of energy and which is specifically designed to charge EVs safely.
DID YOU KNOW? The EV chargepoint grant (via OLEV) provides funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle smart chargepoints at domestic properties across the UK.
After you install a home wallbox, you only pay the energy you use to charge.
For example, as the energy price in the UK in August 2023 is £0.30 per kWh, it means that filling-up an 50 kWh battery EV would cost no more than £15 using a home charger.
As an electric car owner, you can also get an electricity tariff that is specifically designed for EV drivers. You can take advantage of the specific periods when electricity is cheaper and to schedule when your car charges either via most EV charging apps or via the home charger app.
Many of the smart home chargers on the market also monitor home and EV energy usage. This gives you a clear understanding of the cost per kWh and will help you determine exactly how much you’re spending and when is the best time to charge your car at off-peak rates.
For many who live in an apartment building, charging their car using public EV charging stations is the best option. The good news is that this process is very easy, although more expensive than home charging.
DID YOU KNOW? There are currently around 45,000 charging stations all around the UK. In Greater London, there are more than 14,000 charging points.
The EV charging apps in London are a great option for daily charging on the go. Alternatively, you can use Zap-Map to search for available stations with live updates for other EV drivers. For London specifically, you can use the charging points map where you can live-check charging stations.
TIP: Use Zap-Map’s public charging calculator to check how much it costs to charge your car at a public charging station.
Each network charges a different tariff, the same as with petrol stations. For example, BP Pulse charges between £0.69 – £0.85, depending on the charger speed you use and whether you’re a subscriber or a guest user.
What’s even more important – 15% of all charging stations in the UK are free and best of all, they are fast chargers. You can find free charging points in supermarkets, public, retail or work car parks and at leisure attractions, such as cafes, restaurants, museums, or theatres.
Keep in mind that some of these charging points may request a parking fee or can be customer-only. It’s still worth looking into the using conditions and see if you can ever rely on these stations.
TIP: You can locate them on Zap-Map by selecting “free to use” within the payment filter.
Many charging networks also offer the option of using rapid chargers, which are the fastest method of charging, but also the most expensive. Rapid chargers are often found on motorway service stations and are ideal for longer journeys.
According to Pod Point, the average price of a UK rapid charger is around 73p per kWh, depending on the company, as per August 2023.
Tesla, for example, has the most rapid or ultra-rapid chargers network in the UK, but also a price of 60p/kWh for non-member. InstaVolt, with the second largest rapid network, currently charges 75p/kWh.
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