How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
Depends on where you charge it but let's take a look at some of the main locations you are likely to charge your vehicle. You can also read more in our Electric Car Charging Costs guide.
Charging an electric car at home
Charging at home is often the most convenient and cost-effective way to recharge an electric vehicle. Most EV drivers charge their electric car overnight, preferring to wake up to a full battery every morning.
To charge an electric car at home, you will need a home charging point installed. Most home chargers are either rated at 3kW or 7 W giving around 15 to 30 miles of range per hour of charge. You can also use a standard three-pin plug with an EVSE cable to charge your electric vehicle but as they are not designed to withstand these loads, this should only be used as a last resort and should not be used long term.
In terms of cost, using an average domestic electricity rate is about 14p per kWh, to fully charge the Nissan Leaf 40kWh Acenta Auto – Britain’s best-selling pure-EV – would cost you around £5.60 (3.3p per mile) for 168 miles of range. Fuel for a typical petrol car or diesel car costs around 12p per mile - so the cost for driving the same distance would be around £20.20, representing a saving of £14.60.
It is worth noting that in most cases, home charging requires off-street parking to avoid trailing cables across public footpaths and public areas. This means that if you live a flat or don’t have access to an allocating parking space or driveway, home charging may prove difficult to install.
Charging an electric car at a public charging point
If you need to charge your electric car whilst out and about, you can use a public charging point. The UK has a large number of public EV charging stations typically located at retail shopping centres, supermarkets and parking outlets, as well as on inner-city streets. These are run by a number of different companies including BP Chargemaster (Polar), Ecotricity, Pod Point and Charge Your Car.
In terms of cost, although many EV charge points are free to use, some require payment costing on average around £1.50 per hour. Fast and rapid chargers are generally more expensive to use, with an Ecotricity charger at a motorway service station costing around £3 to connect for up to 45 minutes, plus 17p for each kWh of electricity.
Payment and access methods across networks also vary widely. Some charging points require you to use an RFID card to activate the charge point while others use a smartphone app. Payment methods also vary with some networks operating ‘pay as you go’ systems while others require membership and/or subscription fees.
Charging an electric car at work
An increasing number of companies are also installing workplace EV charging units for use by their employees and visitors. For drivers who are unable to charge at home, charging at the office makes it easy for them to also drive and enjoy the benefits of an electric car.
Workplace charge points are similar to home-based units, although power-ratings tend to be higher with more 7kW and 22kW units installed. Most business units are also double socket, allowing them to charge two cars at the same time. To encourage businesses to install charging points, the Government offers a Workplace Charging Scheme grant which provides up to £500 per charging socket, up to a limit of 20, towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charge-points.
In terms of cost, most businesses allow their employees to use the charging points for free during working hours while others decide to make their charge point part of the public network, which means signing up for access to that particular provider, if you hadn’t done so already.