Person connecting charge cable to an electric car

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

9 minute read

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Electric vehicles (EVs) 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
  • Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) are offering up to £350 for home EV charging points

As well as helping you do your bit for the environment, studies have found that going electric when choosing your next car can reduce your running costs. 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 charge while you’re home.

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

  • At home
  • At a public charging station
  • At work

How much to charge an electric car?

Electric car charging 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 new Renault Zoe R110 using a standard 3kW home charger would cost you £10 based on an average electricity cost of 20p per kWh. It would take just over 17 hours to complete but would give you a range of roughly 230 miles.

You may be able to switch to an EV electricity tariff, which can be beneficial for those who charge at home.

Most home EV chargers typically offer either 7kW or 3kW of power. The more power in the charger, the quicker your electric vehicle will be ready to hit the road, but often it’ll cost more to buy.

Some chargers offer multiple power settings. This gives you more flexibility to either short-term quick charge or gently power up your car overnight to give you peace of mind that it will be fully recharged the next morning. You can use a regular power outlet for this but for the best results, you’ll want to have a home charger installed.

 

EV charging - charger installation

Installing your home charger is another cost to consider and should be worked into your budget if you’re calculating the costs of an electric car.

Installing an electric car charger at home can cost around £1,000.1 However, some electric vehicle owners are eligible for an OZEV grant, which can cut that cost by up to £350. The Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) grant is also known as the EV Chargepoint Grant.

By installing an electric car charging point at home, you’ll always be within reach of a charge and can conveniently plug in your EV overnight. Not only could it cost less to charge at night, with lower electricity rates, but it can also be cheaper than charging on the go.

Using public electric charging stations

The power and cost of public charging stations may vary according to their recharge speed, which generally tends to fall into three categories.

Rapid chargers

These provide 43kW AC or 50kW DC 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. There are even Ultra Rapid chargers available, capable of 100-350kW in some areas.

Fast chargers

This type of charger offers 7kW to 22kW of AC power. They 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 twelve hours, depending on the vehicle and unit. Slow chargers are found in homes and occasionally in workplace car parks.

Charging at some public charging points, like those in supermarkets or shopping centres, can be free while you’re visiting. But rapid chargers usually found in service stations can cost around £6.50 per 30 minutes2.

Your car will have a maximum DC charging rate, but it's fine to use a charger capable of higher speeds.

FAQs 

Can you charge an electric car at home from a regular power outlet?

Yes, with the right charging cable, it’s possible to charge your EV from a standard three-pin plug. However, this will take longer than using a wall box.

How long does it take to charge an electric car at home?

The length of time it takes to charge your EV depends on the model of car and your charging method.

  • 2.3kW (three-pin cable) - will give approximately 8 miles per hour of charge, taking between 13-30 hours to fully charge from empty, depending on your vehicle’s kWh battery.
  • 3kW wall box - will give you approximately 10 miles per hour of charge, taking between 10-20 hours to fully charge from empty.
  • 7kW wall box - will give you around 25 miles per hour of charge and usually takes around 5-10 hours to charge.

What is the best home charger?

With so many options available, it can be hard to know what's best.

To help you decide, you may want to consider what you need, what you don’t need, how it looks… and of course, your budget!

It's also important to think about where it would be mounted and what the distance from the consumer unit and your router would be.

Remember, from this year, all new charge points need to be connected to the internet, so if your car is parked out of WiFi range, you may need to get ethernet cables routed to it which could increase installation costs.

What is the OZEV grant?

The OLEV grant is a government-funded scheme that provides up to £350 towards the cost of buying and installing an EV charging point at home. Electric vehicle owners are eligible for one OZEV-approved charging point per vehicle for a maximum of two electric vehicles per household. This is available for most electric and hybrid vehicles. You must also have off-street parking to be eligible.

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

Sit back, relax and start your car insurance quote

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2 https://pod-point.com/guides/driver/cost-of-charging-electric-car

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