How much it costs to charge & run an electric car

Find out how electric vehicles are cheaper to run, the benefits available and the exact costs of buying and charging.

Woman about to charge a Volkswagen e-Golf

Just like traditional fuel engine vehicles, the cost of running an electric vehicle varies depending on the model, make and specifics of the vehicle – it means there's an option for everyone and this including buying an EV too. 

Good news – electric vehicles are likely to cost you less over the course of ownership. Electricity costs much less than petrol or diesel and electric cars require less maintenance than an internal combustion engine (ICE).

In addition, there are various incentives offered such as government grants or schemes, Vehicle Excise Duty discounts or exemption and also exemption from Fuel Duty. Read more information on tax benefits. You could get a discount or possibly drive in the Congestion Charge zone for free.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

public charging points

The cost of charging your electric car at a public charge point depends on the charge point network and the location of charge points. Many local authorities offer a pay per session approach to on-street chargers. Occasionally they can be free to use if you have access to a network subscription

Public charge point costs also vary depending on the power rating and whether it's slow (lamppost charging), fast (Car parks) or Rapid (Motorway service stations).

 

car charging in garden

Rapid charge points are typically found at motorway service stations and can also be free for certain drivers but are generally seen as one of the more expensive options. In essence, because they offer a faster charge (drivers can typically charge an electric car to 80% in 20-40 mins) and greater convenience, they tend to come at a premium. 

Pod Point rapid chargers cost 23p/kWh at Lidl and 24p/kWh at Tesco, which is about £6-7 for 30 minutes of charging (about 100 miles of range).

Cost of charging electric cars at public stations

If you are a Tesla owner, then the Tesla Supercharger Network has points across the UK which are often free to use for older vehicles. Newer Tesla owners, who bought their vehicle after January 1st 2017, may only receive a set number of free hours of charge. According to Tesla, where possible, Tesla owners are billed at 24p per kWh (kilowatt-hour). In other areas, they bill per minute. When billing per minute, there are two tiers to account for changes in charging speeds, called “tier 1” and “tier 2”. Tier 1 is 60 kW and below and tier 2 is 60 kW and above. Tesla advise that tier 1 is half the cost of tier 2. 

Certain Model S and X vehicles ordered before November 2, 2018 receive 400 kWh (~1,000 miles) of Supercharger credits annually. Please consult the manufacturer if you are in doubt.

For non-Tesla owners, charging fees vary depending on the network you use. Registration, subscription and connection fees may apply. Take a look at Zap-Map or an overview of UK’s main EV charging networks.

Electric car charging cards

In addition to smartphone apps, radio frequency identification (RFID) electric car charging cards are provided by some of the major UK public charging networks, such as Polar, GeniePoint, Ecotricity, Shell Recharge and ChargeYourCar. To use public charging points, you'll need to register with a membership scheme before use.

Zap-Map can help identify which charging schemes charging points belong to. There are alternative maps you can use too, here's a few to get you started:

Did you know?

The UK government has announced that it "wants to see all newly installed rapid and higher-powered charge points provide debit or credit card payment by spring 2020".

Cost of charging an electric car at home

home charging point

Charging your electric car at home is the main charging option for most EV owners. It's important to be on the best home energy tariff to keep this cost as low as possible, because the cost of charging will be included in your normal electricity bill.

How much charging costs will depend on the amount of charging you do, the type of charger you have and also how much you use public charging.

The cost of installing a home charge point is around £1,000 but with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) grant, you could reduce the up front cost by up to £350.

Read more about government grants

EDF Energy electricity bill

Electricity tariff costs

Before you get an electric vehicle, you may want to think about how it will impact the cost of your home electricity bill. For instance, if you travel 8000 miles per year in your car, this might equate to around 2800 kWh of additional electricity on your yearly bill if 1 kWh equals 3.5 miles. Therefore it pays to look for the right energy tariff.

For example, you might want to look at off-peaks prices, as many energy companies offer lower electricity prices at night when the demand on the grid is reduced and energy prices are cheaper. Another thing to consider is the number of off-peak hours available to charge your electric car. If for instance you own a Tesla Model S with a 100 kW battery, the charging time will be greater than a Renault Zoe with a 30 kW battery. Therefore, you might want to look for a tariff which offers longer off-peak charging periods.

electric vehicle charging station at home with electric car

Half price evenings and weekends

Exclusive to electric car drivers, the 100% renewable(1) GoElectric tariff offers half price electricity evenings and weekends for both your household and your electric car

Find out more

On the road costs for electric vehicles

Woman charging BMW i3 in street

Reduce costs with government schemes

The UK government want more people to go electric and are supporting people to afford the switch.

To help with the upfront costs of buying an electric vehicle and installing a home charging point, there are a few different government grants available. 

Learn more about grants and schemes

electric car tax model cars and coins

Electric car road tax costs

Now that vehicle tax is based on carbon dioxide emissions, pure electric cars are exempt from paying for the first year.

Subsequent years are also free, unless your electric car was over £40,000 in which case you’ll still pay a lower tax than petrol or diesel cars for the next 5 years.

Read more about tax benefits

man changing wheel in garage

Electric car maintenance costs

As all drivers will know the older a car is the more servicing it requires. Luckily electric cars have fewer moving parts so naturally this means fewer things to go wrong.

Many leasing companies and manufacturers also offer maintenance packages for an additional cost to help cover any unforseen issues.

Learn more about maintenance

woman playing with tesla screen

Electric cars vs petrol cars

There are a number of differences between electric and petrol or diesel cars. One of the key benefits is the cost to fill up.

With the average UK electricity price sitting at around 14p per kWh and if you assume an electric car will travel 3.5 miles per kWh on average, to travel 100 miles would cost around £4 or 4p per mile.

However, a petrol car would cost around £10 or 10p per mile if fuel cost £1.24 per litre and we assume the UK’s average new car fuel consumption in 2018 was 50.5 miles-per-gallon for petrol cars. If you have a cheaper fixed tariff, then it's likely the cost to fill up your electric car will be cheaper still.

The above is only an indication and depending on where you live, the prices you pay for both electricity and fuel and the vehicle you own may increase or decrease these savings.

Learn more about the benefits of electric cars

How much is the Congestion Charge?

Electric cars exempt from London Congestion Charge

As of April 2019, electric vehicles are eligible for an exemption form both the London Congestion Charge and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge.

In order to qualify for these exemptions, drivers will need to register their electric vehicle with Transport for London (TfL) at a cost of £10, which needs to be renewed each year.

The Congestion Charge zone runs from Monday to Friday, between 07:00-18:00. Unregistered vehicles will need to pay £11.50 each day you drive within the boundary. 

The Ultra Low Emission Zone, by contrast, runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week (except Christmas Day), within the same area of central London as the Congestion Charge. Most vehicles that aren't registered will have to pay £12.50 per day. Although heavier vehicles, such as lorries, may need to pay up to £100 per day.

That means a typical daily charge for an unregistered car to drive in London is £24 per day. Register an electric vehicle today to avoid paying more than you have to.

 

EO Genius electric vehicle charge point outside office building

Electric vehicle solutions for business

With expert advice, a selection of charge points, vehicle leasing and energy supply all under one roof, the move to electric vehicles has never been easier.

There are cost benefits to your business going electric. From fuel savings to tax incentives and financial benefits.

See how much your business could save by making the transition to electric vehicles.

Learn more about electric cars and costs

Office for Low Emission Vehicles grants and schemes

Grants, subsidies and schemes for electric cars

Find out what government grants are available for your home or your business

Read more on grants for electric cars

EV charging electric cars

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One explorer. An 86 year old skydiver. And an electric car powered by the Scottish wind. We challenged Camilla Thurlow to go back to her roots in Scotland and skydive with the fearless Dilys Price.

This is the fifth and final episode of Electric Adventures!

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