How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

How much does it cost to charge an electric car: the myths debunked

The cost of charging any electric vehicle is dependent on numerous factors, some of which are continually fluctuating, which makes answering this question more complex than simply answering with a dead certain number. Some of the key factors involved in determining the cost of charging an electric car, are vehicle battery size, vehicle weight and the type of charger used i.e. home or public chargers.

It’s also dependent on a households particular energy tariff and whether energy is used efficiently. For example, those drivers who are utilising flexible, time of use tariffs such as Agile Octopus, could be making vast savings in comparison with another driver of the same vehicle.

The difference in electric vehicle battery sizes

Based on our selection of 40 of the best selling electric vehicles available right now, 54kWh is the closest representation of the current average battery size. However,  it is worth noting another top 40 list of vehicles might generate a slightly different result.

Information available online generally focuses on a 60kWh battery. So when typing “how much does it cost to charge an electric car” into Google, the results will be subjective to that particular size of battery.

Battery sizes actually range from the popular Tesla Model 3 which sits at the higher end of the battery scale, boasting a 75kWh battery option right down to the Smart EQ Fortwo city car which has a smaller 17.5kWh.

Therefore the cost of charging your Tesla, compared to Smart EQ would be vastly different.

ev battery

What factors affect the cost of charging an electric car?


Vehicle battery size

• measured in kilowatts (kWh).
• there are 1000watts in a kilowatt.
• the higher the kilowatts, the further the range
• the larger the battery, the longer it takes to fully charge
• larger batteries require more energy to fully charge
• smaller batteries need charging more frequently
• smaller batteries are ideal for a shorter distance, town/city driving
• larger batteries are best for long distance commuting

car battery charge

Usage & Daily miles driven

• the further you drive the more kWh’s you will use
• the distance of your daily commute determines the frequency
• stop-start journeys use more energy than constant speeds
• properly maintained tires cause less friction
• how you drive your vehicle affects kWh’s used i.e. quick accelerating

charge point locations

Vehicle weight & design

• lighter vehicles often use less kWh’s
• heavier vehicles often use more kWh’s
• smaller kWh batteries are usually lighter
• larger kWh batteries are usually heavier
• the size of the wheels and quality of the tires used
• the quality of the battery and components used
• the efficiency of the circuitry and heat loss
• aerodynamics factors and shape

cost to charge an electric car

The types of charger you use

• eco-smart ev chargers such as the zappi can drastically lower costs
• reliance on public DC chargers tends to be more expensive
• you can better manage and monitor using home chargers
• charging at slower rates at home is usually more cost-effective
• some companies offer free charging for using their services
• some workplaces offer low cost or free charging
• tariffs and charge rates higher or lower dependent on area

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Fluctuating weather, climate & environment

• electricity tends to be more expensive in the winter than summer
• wind causes more friction when driving using more kWh’s
• more likely to use your interior heater in cold weather
• likely to use your vehicle more frequently in the winter
• fluctuating temperatures can disperse extra energy quicker
• hot weather might entice you to venture further
• road friction, from snowfall, to ground temperature to surface quality

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Energy usage & setup

•  the times you choose to charge e.g. peak time/tea time
• busy periods of electricity usage are usually more expensive
• self-generation from solar or wind will lower charging costs
•  the type of energy tariff you are on
• your energy supplier and the rates charged
• flexible tariffs allow cheaper charging rates during off-peak times
• devices such as eddi can help you charge using 100% green energy
• the area of the country you live

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How much does it cost to run an electric car?


Based on 54kWh, the average cost to fully charge an electric car from empty to full is around £7.80 whilst the average monthly cost to keep an EV charged would be around £31.00. This data is based on fully charging your EV once per week at home. Another advantage is that EV’s are also exempt from paying Road Tax and significantly cheaper to maintain.

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Can I save money with an EV?


EV’s are considered far cheaper than fossil fuel vehicles and EV owners can expect to save an average of £57.48 per month on fuel savings alone, which is a total average fuel saving of £689.76 per year.

It’s also handy to know, electric vehicles don’t require an oil & filter change during their service, which costs on average another £100 a year. That’s a £789.76 saving by removing the fossil-based components and elements of the combustion engine vehicle.

tesla car

Are electric cars cheaper to maintain?


It is widely recognised that electric cars are cheaper to maintain because there are significantly less mechanical moving parts that are susceptible to wear and tear. Battery energy is not only clean by name but clean by nature, with no more oil spills, engine leakage, injectors or filters clogging up. The most expensive part of an EV to replace would be the battery, however most manufacturers offer lengthy warranties of up to 10 years on their batteries. EV’s on a whole are far less complex than their predecessor the combustion engine. However, the general mechanics such as wheels, steering wheels and brakes still need servicing and maintaining. Equally, safety features of an electric vehicle still need checking annually in the form of an MOT test, for which the vehicle  is required to pass to be legally on the road.

ev's cheaper to maintain

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


Charging your electric vehicle at home is the easiest and most cost effective way to charge. Most electric vehicle owners make plugging in their vehicles, as automatic as unlocking the doors when arriving home, where the vehicle would always be plugged in if not in use. Therefore, it is most common for vehicle drivers to charge at home in the evening or through the night, as people arrive home from work. Dependent on the amount of battery used throughout the day, in most cases the charge will simply top up to full capacity. Topping up a vehicle every night will cost on average between £1.10 – £1.20 per day to maintain full charge. The cost to fully charge the battery from near empty (which is the equivalent of running to a petrol station on an empty tank)  would be between £7.80 (average) – £8.50 . However these daily, monthly costs could be much lower if you where utilising time of use tariff options and green energy solutions. It’s been known whereby customers are actually paid to their charge vehicles, when there is so much surplus energy on the grid!

 

zappi charger

What is the cost to use a public charger?


Public charging infrastructure is currently still very much in it’s early, though progressive stages with new companies, initiatives and technology changing at a rapid pace. This makes concluding even an average cost to charge using public charge points very difficult to pin point. Equally, some of the factors that determine the cost of a charge, including the vehicle battery size and the time you have to spare, will influence how much you will pay at a public charge station i.e. you may only require to top up enough to get you home safely, to be able use your own home charger. However, based on our own experience and research we’ve concluded that the average price to charge a vehicle from empty to near full at a public charging station is between £8.00 – £20.00, giving us an average of £14.00. This is the electric equivalent of spending £50.00 – £60.00 to fill up a tank of petrol, for which you can see the drastic difference in price between the fuel types. Although, in many cases you may wish only fill up the amount you feel is required for the journey or days ahead. Equally, in some cases charge points often create a time limit meaning you wouldn’t achieve a full charge anyway. When these elements are factored in, a charge in a relative sense, may cost as little as £2.50 per session.

 

public ev chargers

What is the cheapest way to charge an EV?


There are a number of ways in which you could make sure you are charging for the best prices. Firstly, look at your current energy provider and check whether you are on the right tariff agreement for you. Many home owners accept the first and cheapest standard tariff quotation they receive, however standard tariffs are not always the most effective, dependent on the needs of your household. This is especially true for EV drivers who could be utilises new initiatives such as flexible tariffs / time of use tariffs. They work by offering customers far lower prices during off peak periods such as throughout the night and early hours. This also happens to be the most likely time you are charging your EV. However to best utilise these tariffs and to enable you to make sure your charger only charges when the electricity prices are at there lowest, we’d recommend selecting an eco smart charger such as the zappi and a hub which enables you to utilise these tariffs properly. One service we’d highly recommend is Agile Octopus by Octopus Energy, a tariff very popular amongst EV drivers.

In order to really control and begin to utilise these tariffs, we’d recommend creating a myenergi account, where users can use the advanced tools and features to physically set automation rules and parameters to ensure the vehicle is always charging at the cheapest prices, thus, making the cost to charge an electric car even cheaper!

 

agile octopus

Another amazing feature of the zappi charger, is its ability to utilise solar energy and wind energy when teamed up with existing PV systems and the eddi diverter. You could indeed be charging your car with 100% free and green energy, making the cost to charge an electric car even lower! Home charging will also lessen the need to use more expensive public chargers.

As for free public charge points such as supermarket chains,  they tend to be slower chargers and usually only go as far as compensating the journey to and from the charger itself whilst you do your weekly shopping. Keep a tabs on the varying prices between pay as you go public charge points, as you may find some cheaper and more favourable than others. We’d certainly recommend a home charging for the bulk of your daily charging.

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