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How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

5 minutes

Electric vehicles can be a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way to travel. Find out how much they cost to charge at home, work or on the road.

  • The fastest chargers – normally found at supermarkets and petrol stations – are the most expensive 
  • The cost of charging at home depends on the type of car, power of the charger and your energy tariff
  • A full overnight charge of a Renault Zoe R110 would cost less than £6
 

How much it costs to charge your electric car depends on a number of factors.

As well as helping you do your bit for the environment, studies have found that going electric when choosing your next car could cut your running costs by an average of 10%*. Not just that, but electric cars can also be more convenient than traditional vehicles. If you invest in a home charging point, you can simply plug in your vehicle and let it recharge while you’re at home.

In this article, we’ll compare the costs of charging your electric vehicle:

  • at home
  • at a public charging station
  • at work.

We’ll also explain why electric cars are cheaper to run than petrol or diesel cars, outline the different ways you can pay for recharging them and list the charging costs for 10 leading models.

Cost of charging your electric car at home

The cost of charging your electric car at home depends on the model of your vehicle, the wattage of your home charger and the cost of your electricity rate. For example, fully charging a Renault Zoe R110* using a standard 3kW home charger would cost you £5.74 based on an average electricity cost of 14p per kWh – and take just under 14 hours to complete.

This would give you a range of roughly 184 miles. You can also purchase an electric vehicle tariff, perfect for those who charge at home. 

One benefit of charging at home is that you can leave your vehicle plugged in overnight, giving you the peace of mind that your car is safe and will be fully recharged the next morning.

At home stations aren’t the fastest way to recharge electric vehicles, however. If you need a quicker method of getting back on the road, there are other options available.

*All information correct as of March 2019

Cost of charging your electric car at a charging station

As the popularity of electric cars has grown in the UK, so too has the number of charging stations found near on-street parking and in petrol stations. The power and cost of these machines vary* according to their recharge speed, which generally tends to fall into three categories.

Rapid chargers

These provide 43kW to 50kW of charging power and can charge many electric vehicles to 80% capacity within 20 to 40 minutes. Typically, you’ll find them at service stations or next to on-street parking.

Fast chargers

This type of charger offers 7kW to 22kW of power and can charge selected electric cars to 80% capacity in one to two hours with a 22kW charger, or three to five hours using a 7kW charger. They’re generally found in supermarket and public car parks.

Slow chargers

These offer 3kW of charging power and recharging times vary between six to 12 hours, depending on the vehicle and unit. Slow chargers are found in your home and occasionally in workplace car parks.

The cost of using a rapid charging station tends to be around £3 for up to 45 minutes of use – depending on the electricity supplier that owns the station. Most fast charging points cost about £1.50 per hour , making them both more expensive than at-home options.

*All information correct as of March 2019

To find out how much it costs to charge an electric car, explore Zap-Map's public charging calculator below. 

Cost of charging your electric car at work

The cost of charging at work depends on whether your employer has decided to offer them for free or has teamed up with a network provider to install facilities that are part of a public charging network. If they’re part of the public network you will have to pay the standard rate, unless your employer subsidises it.

More and more workplaces are now being encouraged to install electric car charging stations. The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), introduced by the government, has provided financial support for companies looking to do so. This helps businesses cover the costs of installing charging stations on their premises.

Combined with the overall drive towards electric vehicles, it means that more workplaces across the UK will install what are known as fast chargers. These provide more power than a home charger and have the added convenience of being placed outside your workplace, often in a secure car park, so you can recharge your car while you’re in work.

You can find out more about the government grants available for businesses and individuals in our handy guide.

Are electric cars cheaper than petrol cars?

Electric cars can offer a cheaper way to travel when compared to their petrol and diesel equivalents. Take the earlier example of the Renault Zoe R110. A full overnight charge using a standard 3kW home charger can give you 184 miles at a cost of around £5.74.

To travel the same distance in a standard petrol or diesel car would cost you around £22.10, providing a fuel saving of £16.36. 

This illustrates how much you could reduce your bills by switching to an electric vehicle, offering an impressive fuel economy of 3.1p per mile. Though you would typically have to recharge more frequently, particularly for longer journeys, electric cars offer an advantage over their fuel-based rivals in terms of running costs.

How to pay for charging your electric car

There are over 20 different charging networks currently operating within the UK, including Ecotricity and Polar, alongside the bigger providers like BP and Shell. Each offers different ways of paying to charge your vehicle. Many provide subscription services, where you pay a monthly fee to receive unlimited charging, while others operate on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Generally, operators who offer a pay per charge option will have their own app that you can download to your phone. Simply register, enter your card details and pay according to how much you use the charging station.

If you’re regularly using the same station run by the same network provider, it’s perhaps worthwhile checking if a monthly subscription would be more cost-effective in the long-run. That way, you can make savings by sticking with the same company. 

*All information correct as of March 2019

There are lots of things to consider when deciding whether to buy an electric car. If you’re ready to make the next step then take a look at our electric car insurance, which has all the cover you’ll need  for the exciting road ahead. 

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