How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

There are many different things that affect how much it costs to charge an electric car: 

  • How often and how far you drive the vehicle
  • The battery size in that particular make and model
  • Whether the charging station is at home, in a public place, or at work
  • The speed you choose to charge it (slow, fast, or rapid)
  • Whether you’re fully charging the battery or just topping it up
  • Which electricity tariff or network the charger is on

There are many different things that affect how much it costs to charge an electric car:

  • How often and how far you drive the vehicle
  • The battery size in that particular make and model
  • Whether the charging station is at home, in a public place, or at work
  • The speed you choose to charge it (slow, fast, or rapid)
  • Whether you’re fully charging the battery or just topping it up
  • Which electricity tariff or network the charger is on
The type of electric vehicle is important, because each has its own specifications. The battery capacity, strength of the charging point, and how often you drive the car will determine how often you need to charge an electric car and how long it takes.

Where you charge the car and the way you pay for it will decide the final cost each time. For example, charging your electric car overnight at home on your chosen tariff is generally cheaper than using a public rapid charger via pay-per-charge or a subscription service.

And if you have a hybrid vehicle, you might spend less on electricity but then end up spending more on traditional petrol or diesel when you fuel up both ways. Charging electric cars almost always costs less than fuelling petrol or diesel cars, but in both cases the costs are rarely fixed and depend on varying circumstances.

Let’s take a look at how much it costs to charge an electric car according to the location and charger type.


How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home?

For most electric car owners, charging at home is the main option. To do this safely, you need a charging point installed for your vehicle.

After that upfront cost, the amount you spend on charging your electric car depends on which electricity tariff your household is on and the car’s battery capacity.

The electricity you use to charge your car is included in your regular electricity bill, which is obviously going to be higher than before once you switch to an electric car, but you’ll still be saving compared to the cost of petrol or diesel.

The average cost of electricity per kilowatt-hour in the UK is 14.37p, so if your car had an average 60kWh battery, it would cost around £8.62 to fully charge it from flat.

Compare that to a petrol car, where the price to fill a full tank can easily close in on £100.

If your car then has around 150 miles of range, it can last a while before it needs charging again, depending on how much you drive.

Here is a quick guide to the charging costs of some common electric car models, based on a 14p per kWh electricity tariff:

On average, the cost for a full charge varies between £2 - £14, and works out at a value of 2p - 4p per mile.

Though it’s rare to need to charge a car from completely flat, many people find it convenient to charge their electric cars overnight, so they’re definitely fully charged in the morning. Off-peak tariffs can be handy for this, as the cost of charging at night will be much cheaper. However, the cost of your daily household use could be higher and cancel out any savings. It’s best to look around for a special EV tariff that suits your lifestyle rather than a standard Economy 7 tariff.

How much does it cost to install an electric car charger?

Electric vehicle charging points typically cost between £500 to £1,500 for the unit and installation, depending on its capacity and the EV charger brand.

If you go for a cheaper one, it’ll be a one-time cost of a few hundred pounds with the government’s Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme grant, which saves you up to £350.

To get the grant, you do have to meet a few conditions, such as choosing an approved charger and installer and having off-street parking for your electric car.

The upfront costs might seem like an expensive investment, but over time having a home charger will be extremely cost-effective and convenient.
Cost to charge electric car calculator
Once you know how much electricity costs per kWh by checking your tariff, it’s not too difficult to work out the cost of charging.

Just take that electricity rate then multiply it by the battery capacity of your electric car, like this:

Size of battery (kWh) x Electricity rate (pence per kWh) = Cost to charge car from empty to full.

Bear in mind that most of the time you won’t be charging the battery completely from flat, you’ll just be topping it up, so the actual costs might be lower.
How much does it cost to charge an electric car at work?
If your workplace has electric vehicle charging facilities for you to charge your car while you’re in work, the cost will depend on your employer.

Some employers will let workers use the chargers for free as an employee perk, while others might set a fee.

This could be a time-based tariff to make sure people are sharing the use of the chargers fairly, or there may be a standard network rate if your employer’s chargers are also open to public use.

Unless your workplace charging is free, it’ll be cheaper to charge your car at home and only use the chargers at work if you need an emergency top-up.


How much does it cost to charge an electric car at a public charging station?

The cost of charging your electric car at a public charge point depends on the location, its charge speed, and the network that it’s on.

Some places offer free public chargers as a customer incentive, such as shopping centres, supermarkets, and hotels, but you do have to be a guest to use them.

If you mostly charge at home and only need infrequent top-ups at public chargers, then pay-as-you-go or pay-per-charge is easier.

Public chargers are pretty much always more expensive than charging at home, starting from around 18p per kWh.

There are several different companies who install and run public EV chargers throughout the UK, so the price will depend on which one is responsible for the particular charge point you want to use.

Bigger networks like BP Pulse offer a subscription service for £7.85 a month, with access to many public charge points for free and only paying 12p per kWh on others.

This is only more cost-effective if you’re regularly driving long distances in your electric car and need frequent top-ups on the go.

There are many smartphone apps available to help you locate public chargers and check the cost per kWh to charge your car before you select which one to use.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car at a rapid charger?

Some public chargers, usually found at motorway service stations and supermarkets, are super-fast rapid chargers.

Boosting your electric car battery quickly comes at a higher price, with an average cost of £6.50 for just 30 minutes of rapid charging.

Rapid chargers can cost between 17p and 30p per kWh, averaging at around 23-24p per kWh.

With certain providers like Ecotricity, there’s an initial connection fee of £3 just to plug your electric car in, with the per kWh cost added on top.

Though they’re more powerful and very efficient, rapid chargers are the most expensive way to charge an electric vehicle.

They’re only worth it if your battery is running low on a long trip and you need a fast top-up.

Whenever you do need them, you can find rapid chargers and check the prices in smartphone apps with public charger maps

Cost of running an electric car vs petrol

As we’ve seen, there are various running costs to charge electric vehicles, at varying price points.

The end result is that almost all electric charging methods are cheaper than fuelling a traditional car with petrol or diesel.

According to EDF Energy, driving an electric car would cost around 4p per mile, compared to an average of 10p per mile for a petrol vehicle.

Over the vehicle’s lifetime, that adds up to thousands of pounds saved.

Electric vehicles also save money on servicing, road tax, and congestion charges, so you can add on those hundreds of pounds worth of savings, too.

If you regularly make the same journeys, you can use Zap-Map’s journey cost calculator to see how much you would save with an electric car.

Save time and money by charging your electric car at home, and contact Downtown Electrical for help with top-grade EV charger installations at government-discounted prices.
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