Looking at just the headline rates, the first tariff seems cheaper. But it offers only five off-peak hours each day. So even with a 7kW home charger it takes seven and a half hours to fully recharge a 40kWh Nissan Leaf. Assuming your car requires an eight-hour charge, you’ll pay 70p on tariff one, but only 56p on tariff two.
If you regularly drive long distances, or prefer to recharge only when the battery is nearly empty, tariff two could work out cheaper for you. Even if you had a Tesla with the biggest, 100kWh battery, tariff two’s off-peak hours would allow you to charge up to 70% before the peak rate-charge applied compared to only 50% with tariff one.
A final thing to remember is that electricity tariffs include a standing rate. This small daily sum is a flat charge you pay to connect to the grid. It’s usually between 25p and 30p a day. The difference between tariffs might only amount to a couple of pounds a month, but always factor it in.
Incentives and special offers
Alongside headline rates and charging hours, some suppliers offer incentives or special deals to encourage new customers. In the case of electric car tariffs, these are usually either a bill credit (e.g. £100) or ‘free’ miles. And in each instance, it pays to explore what the incentive is really worth, especially if you’re deciding between two similar deals.
These are usually straightforward. They’re added to your account once you join, and might cover a month or two’s electricity.
With these offers, always look at the small print. This is because suppliers are in fact offering you free electricity – another form of bill credit! – but converting it to how many miles it’ll power an electric car. The problem is, that not everyone works it out the same way. Here’s why…