How Much Electric Cars Cost to Charge & Run

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

Woman about to charge a vw e-golf

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

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

In addition, there's 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. Find out more here.


How Much Does it Cost to Charge an Electric Car?

Cost of Charging an Electric Car at Home

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 this will be depends on the amount of charging you do, the type of charger you have and also how much you use public charging.

Charging your electric car, will show up as part of your electricity bill – the same as charging your phone or using your lights would.

The cost of installing a home charge point is around £1,000, but with the OLEV grant (The Office for Low Emission Vehicles), where eligible, you can reduce this up front cost by up to £500. Read more about the grant.

Cost of Charging an Electric Car at Public Charge Points

The cost of charging your electric car at public charge poiints depends on the charge point network and the location of the charge point. 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.

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 to typically charge an electric car to 80% in 20-40 mins) and greater convenience, they tend to come at a premium. 

However, if you are a Tesla owner, then the Tesla Supercharger Network has points across the UK which are often free to use. Newer Tesla owners, who bought their vehicle after January 1st 2017, may only receive a set number of free hours of charge. Please consult the manufacturer if you are in doubt.

Tariff Costs - Things to consider

Before you consider buying 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 to suit your charging needs.

For example, you might want to look at off-peaks prices, as many energy companies offer very low electricity prices at night, when the demand on the grid is reduced and therefore 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 is likely to 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.

Calculate Costs to Fully Charge an Electric Car

Use this handy calculator to work out how much it's likely to cost to fully charge an electric vehicle at home.

Electric Car Cost Per Mile

Compare an electric car to any other car - petrol, diesel or electric, to see how much it'd cost if you took the same journey in each and how much that is per mile.

On the Road Costs for EVs

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Electric Cars vs Petrol Cars

There are a number of differences between electric and petrol/diesel cars. One of the key benefits of electric over petrol 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 £11 or 11p per mile if fuel cost £1.25 per litre and we assume the UK’s average new car fuel consumption in 2017 was 51.7 miles-per-gallon. 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. Why not compare prices yourself with this handy calculator?

woman charging bmw i3 in street

Government Grants & Schemes for Electric Cars

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.

You can sign up for the UK Government's Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) or find out more about eligibility and the application process.

You can also get a discounted price on the upfront cost of buying a new electric car or van with the governments plug-in car grant.

Like any schemes or grants, these may be subject to change and eligibility. Check out the latest developments on the website.

electric car tax model cars and coins

Electric Car Road Tax Costs

All cars registered 1st March 2001 and 31st March 2017, with CO2 emissions less than 100 g/km, are not subject to road tax.

For all cars registered on or after 1st April 2017 the tax bands have changed. Fully electric cars have no tailpipe emissions and are therefore still exempt from road tax. However, some plug-in hybrid electric cars with CO2 emissions less than 100 g/km, may need to pay anything from £0-£135 per year depending on the levels of CO2 emissions.

One thing that many people are not aware of is that all cars registered on or after 1st April 2017 and cost over £40,000, are still liable to pay an additional road tax charge. Electric cars that fall into this category will have to pay £350 per year for the first five years, compared to £455 for petrol and diesel cars registered in the same period.

man changing wheel in garage

Electric Car Maintenance Costs

As all drivers will know the older a car is the more maintence it will require. Petrol and diesel engines have a lot of moving parts and need to be serivced regularly. Oil and filter changes, spark plugs and leads, head gaskets and gearboxes all require regular up-keep and investment to keep them running smoothly. An electric car has fewer moving parts, so naturally this means fewer things to go wrong.

Electric cars also have regenerative braking systems. Regenerative braking systems help to charge the battery while a car is in motion and this increases the range of the battery between charges. By having this technology it means there is less wear and tear on an electric vehicles brakes than there is on a typical petrol or diesel vehicle and as such this means lower overall repair costs.

One thing that will still be comparible between traditional internal combustion engined vehicles and electric cars and vans, is tyre wear. Tyres will need to be changed regularly.

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

EO Mini Free Standing on Forecourt

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 & Costs

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Not sure of the difference between electric cars?

There are different types of electric cars from hybrids to pure electric – so find the car that suits you best.

Read more about electric cars

Have questions about charging an electric car?

Learn about all the different options for charging your electric car on the go and at home.

See more on charging

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See our handpicked leasing deals

We have a range of electric cars to lease including specially selected deals.

Find a model that’s right for you

The Power of Wind

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This is the fifth and final episode of Electric Adventures!

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