How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
Charging an electric car is one of the biggest adaptations for drivers. And let’s be honest, it can be difficult to get your head around. Different types of charge points charging at different rates. Electric cars with different battery capacities and maximum charging speeds. It’s no wonder there are so many drivers on the fence.
‘How much does it actually cost to charge an electric car’. A question we are asked a lot.
The answer? Well, that depends, there are quite a few variables!
But we’re here to (hopefully!) debunk some of these common questions about the cost of charging. Plus, we’ve created a handy charging cost calculator to help you to understand roughly how much it will cost you, depending on the Model and charger type you use.
Continue reading to find out:
- How much it costs to charge an EV, whether that’s at home, the workplace or at service stations
- Plus, use our charging cost calculator to find out the estimated charging costs and times for some of our most popular EVs.
What’s the average charge cost for an electric car?
The cost to charge an electric car in the UK varies depending on where you are charging and your car itself. There are four main ‘types’ of chargers. Here, we’ve highlighted the typical charger outputs and the typical price per kW*.
*based on average pricing as of June 2023
Want to know more about the different charger types? Head over to our EV Jargon Buster page!
How to calculate charging cost
To calculate the cost of charging an EV, use the following basic calculation to get an estimated price:
pence per kWh X battery size of EV
For example, take the Fiat 500e. It has a 42kW battery, and you’ve rocked up to a rapid charger at a service station. To calculate the cost to charge, you’d do:
0.7p X 42 = £29.40
NB this is to charge from empty (0%) to a full (100%) battery.
Typically though, we use 10-80% when working out the average costs (as it’s healthier for the battery to be charged only to 80%) so we do this calculation based on a 70% battery capacity:
0.7p X (42 X 0.7) = £20.58
Don’t worry though, we’ve created a calculator for you below so you don’t have to do the math!
To help you to estimate the cost and charging time, we’ve created a handy calculator. Simply choose from one of our popular electric cars, select the charger type, and we’ll calculate the typical cost and time to charge.
Electric Car Charging Calculator
Now, it’s important to remember there are lots of variables at stake here. Sorry to complicate things!
- As car batteries degrade over time they become less efficient, so they will take longer to charge up to 80% and use energy quicker (though modern EVs shouldn’t experience any significant different in the first 8-10 years or the first 100,000 miles)
- The output of the charge point can vary, especially if there are two EVs hooked up to the same point (charging etiquette is to use another ‘point’ if there’s one available)
- Max charging speeds of each Model will affect the time and cost. See below for a full explanation. (or head to the end to view the max charging speeds of the examples used in the calculator)
Get to know your max charging speeds
It’s important to understand the maximum charging speed of your vehicle. Let’s take the Fiat 500e example again. It has a max charging speed of 85kW. Therefore, even if you charge it at a 150kW charger, it cannot charge any quicker than 85kWs. So you might end up paying more, without gaining more charge.
Cost to charge an electric car at home
Home charging is a great way to charge your electric car. It’s a convenient and cost-effective way to keep your car ready and charged for when you need it. The price to charge will depend on your home energy tariff, so you are more in control of your car charging spending.
Currently, the average domestic electricity rate is about 34p per kWh. However, most EV drivers with home charge points will make use of cheaper electricity rates over night – which can be as low as less than 10p per kWh.
- At home, you can either use a regular 3-pin plug (though this will take a VERY long time to charge) or install a home charge point which typically charges at 7kW.
- Some electricity companies offer energy tariffs specifically for EV drivers, to help reduce the cost of charging even further. Charging using off-peak energy costs can bring about significant savings – as much as 40%.
For EV drivers out there, it’s definitely worth speaking to your provider if you have a home charge point to get the best deal for your needs.
Cost to charge an electric car in public
It’s likely that most EV drivers will have to use public charge points in some point, even if a home charger is installed. Charging costs at public points vary greatly depending on the charger output. These typically range from 10kW – 350kW+, but some are even as slow as 3kW (like in an early lamppost charger for example).
The cost to charge at a public point will vary depending on the charger output, the charger network and your electric car.
Typically, the larger the charger output, the more expensive it will cost per kWh.
It can be a bit of a minefield trying to navigate the UK’s charger network, but for elmo customers we’ve made it simple through elmoCharge. 1 card gives our subscribers access to over 25,000+ charge points.
Service stations & motorway charging
Typically, you’ll pay more to charge at a motorway service station – largely because most of these chargers are rapid or ultra-rapid. But this is good news for EV drivers travelling longer distances, as you’ll be able to charge up quicker and get on your merry way.
Cost to charge an electric car at work
Many employers up and down the country have started to install and offer their staff charging solutions whilst parked at the office. Workplace charging stations are a great way for EV drivers to charge when their car is not in use. The cost for employees varies company-to-company, so it’s worth checking with your employer. Though in many cases, employers offer this as a free perk to staff, win-win!
For the business itself, they can apply for what’s called the Workplace Charging Scheme, which offers business’ a 75% grant for the cost to install the charger. This is part of the Government’s incentive to encourage EV uptake.
One drawback though, is that charging space might be limited if several staff need to use it. So rotas may be put in place to ensure fair usage.
One of our subscribers told us about his experience with the Honda e – he charged for free at his workplace which meant he spent very little over the course of his subscription on charging. Read more about it over on our blog.
So there you have it
As there is more investment into public charging infrastructure and a wider range of lower-cost home charge points available – EV drivers will have more choice and flexibility when it comes to paying to charge. Charging electric cars is one of the biggest adaptations and it can be confusing – so we hope this article has helped to unpick some of the complexities surrounding this topic.
Is charging an EV cheaper than fuel?
Still a topic of discussion, but yes generally speaking it still remains cheaper to charge an electric car, than to fill up a petrol/diesel equivalent. Our friends over at Zap Map carried out some great research, read the results in our blog ‘despite charging increases, EV drivers still save money‘.
What is the cheapest way to charge your electric car?
The cheapest way to charge is at home and overnight. Loads of energy companies offer off peak charging rates, some as little 9p per kWh.
Where can you charge an EV for free?
If you are lucky, you might be able to find free charging! Some workplaces offer it for their staff and even some supermarkets and hotels for their customers. But as EV’s have become more popular, free charging has sadly become fewer and far between.
How do I pay for electric car charging?
If you are at home, you’ll pay to charge through your monthly energy bill, based upon your own tariff.
At the workplace, the amount you pay will be set by your employer – either you pay directly via card or RFID at the charging station. Or if you’re lucky enough, some workplaces offer free charging for staff
At service stations or other public charging points, there are usually three options. Download an App and sign up to account, inputting your card details, address etc. Use your own Credit or Debit card ad hoc and as required, simply tap and go. Or, you’ll need a network-specific RFID card to tap and charge.
It varies from station-to-station, so check before driving to the charge point to avoid being caught out!
Check out our blog which highlights some of the best EV Apps available in the UK.
*Max charging speeds: Audi e-tron = 155, Citroen e-C4 = 101, Kia e-Niro 2 = 35, Fiat 500e = 85, MG5 = 80, Peugeot e-2008 = 101, Polestar 2 = 136, Renault ZOE = 46, Tesla Model 3 = 210, Tesla Model Y = 210, Vauxhall Corsa-e = 101, Vauxhall Mokka-e = 101.