Lower cost of ownership is one of the big selling points for electric cars. People want to feel good about helping the environment, but they also want to protect their hard-earned cash. So, how much does it cost to charge that eco-friendly cruiser?
How to Calculate Running Costs for an Electric Vehicle
Calculating charging cost is not a complicated process. You can use an electric car charging cost calculator to show you how much it will cost. You can also work it out yourself.
To work out your charging cost yourself, you need a few bits of information. First, you need to know the total amount of power your battery can receive. The manufacturer should tell you this in a manual. If not, then you can work it out by multiplying your charging rate, which is either 3kW or 7kW, by the charging time.
Once you know the amount of power you need, you need to know your electricity cost per kilowatt-hour. This should be on your electricity bill.
Now that you know the electricity you are going to use and the cost of that electricity, you just multiply them together. The answer is the cost to charge your car.
Of course, the cost could go up and down. There are a few things that can affect cost and a few ways to save money. Let us show you some of the things that affect your cost and then we’ll tell you how to save some money by using an electric car.
Factors That Effect Charging Cost
Let’s not complicate life. Yes, there are a few things that affect the cost of charging your car. No, we don’t need ages to explain them or a degree in applied accounting to understand them. Here are a few simple things that might change your charging costs.
Electricity Tariff Costs
The single biggest factor in the charging cost equation is the money spent on electricity. This is always talked about as the price per kilowatt (£/kW). Comparing prices is really simple because everyone uses the same way of showing cost.
Tariffs range from home prices of £0.10 – £0.17 p/kW up to £0.69 p/kW for some firm’s public rapid chargers. As you can see, charging at home or with a slower charger can be four times less expensive than plugging into a rapid charger at a petrol station.
Half Price Evening and Weekends
Another factor in working out the charging cost is the availability of special electric vehicle (EV) power plans. Many EV owners have a dedicated car charging point at home. Power companies offer special rates for using these plugs during the evenings or weekends.
Green Energy’s TIDE tariff is a great example of this. If you charge your car during their off-peak hours, it will cost only 7.91 p/kW. Using the same charger during peak times could cost up to 32.55 p/kW. Charging during off-peak hours is about a quarter of the cost of charging during peak hours.
Your Car Could Affect Charging Costs
There are a few ways your car can affect your charging cost. The most important is your car’s usage of electricity. Then there are other factors such as how much charge is left in the battery and how much you want to charge it.
Hybrid cars use less electricity than full electric cars, but they also use petrol or diesel. This is one way your car affects costs. Another example is the efficiency of your car at charging itself through innovations like regenerative braking. Some car models are more efficient than others. Do your homework before you choose a new EV.
Another way your car affects costs is its state of repair. A car that is not in good shape will cost more money to charge. So, you should aim to have your vehicle serviced according to the manufacturer’s suggestions.
Charge Speed Drives Price Increases
If you are charging your car away from home, then the speed of the charger usually determines the cost. We already mentioned this but it’s worth repeating. A fast charger can cost up to four times the price of a slow charger.
Consider the difference between slow charging overnight and the rapid charging provided by Ionity. On Green Energy’s TIDE tariff, you could pay 7.91 p/kW to charge your car overnight. Pull up to a charging station with Ionity’s fastest charger and you can pay up to 70 p/kW.
The difference is speed. The home charger at 3 kW/hour will take ten or twelve times longer to charge your car than the fast charger pumping out 350 kW/hour. Savvy owners charge their cars at the cheapest places and plan to do so.
Costs of Charging at Home
We’ve already mentioned some of the costs of charging at home. You must pay for your electricity usage through your power company. There are a few other things to consider, though.
First, you need a charging point and cable. If your home doesn’t already have a dedicated charging port, then you may want to pay to install one. This will cost money but it will also increase your home’s resale value.
Second, you have more options for saving money at home. One of the best investments is a set of solar panels. These have a great return on investment and pay for themselves after 7-8 years. They also increase your home’s value by 3-4%. Once installed, your charging costs could be zero.
Costs of Charging at Work
If your employer participates in the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), then you could charge your electric car at work. This could be free or at a reduced rate from your company.
Companies participating in this scheme receive a grant from the government for the installation of the charging points. Businesses can also use these expenditures in tax mitigation schemes.
For you, the driver, charging your car at work is likely to be the most economical way to get your juice. Your employer will probably offer the service free of charge or at a reduced rate. Take advantage of these schemes to power your car for even less money.
Cost of Public Charging
The cost of charging your car in public really depends on the scheme and power point you use. Some companies have monthly membership options and these can cut costs significantly. Here are a few of the more common schemes.
Source London is a network of charging points spread throughout the London boroughs. They offer a membership option or a PAYG choice.
The membership option costs about £4 per month to join. Then, charging costs are paid for each session. Using a 22kW charging point is the most efficient and costs about 9.6p/kW. One hour’s charge should be more than enough to top off your battery and get you to your next destination.
Their PAYG option comes with a one-time application fee of £10. The charging rates are higher, though. On average, you’ll pay about 2p/kW more than if you sign up for a monthly membership. So, if you live and work in London, this is a great option for you.
Scotland is a great place for electric vehicles because of the high number of free charging ports. ChargePlace Scotland offers hundreds of charging points across the country. Costs vary from one charging point to another.
Their live map shows you all the places you can charge your car. It can be filtered to show you which charging points are available, free, fast or slow. With this map and a sat nav, you can be sure to find your way to some more juice when you need it.
National Chargepoint Registry
The National Charge Point Registry was created in 2011 to provide a place for EV owners and charge point operators to register. It’s a bare bones kind of website without a lot of user-friendly features. However, you can input your post code and then search for a charging point within a certain distance.
The big benefit of the National Charge Point registry is the way it allows its data to be exported to other services. You might not have known about this website but it probably powers the map function of the other charge point maps you have seen.
Open Charge Map
Another great website to know about is Open Charge Map. This is a little like the National Charge Point Registry. However, the Open Charge Map covers the entire globe and is easier to use because it features a big map. Finding your way to a charging point anywhere in the world couldn’t be simpler.
ChargeYour Car is another charging service. You can pay an access fee to receive an RFID card. This grants you access to the whole network of charging stations across the UK. Some are free to use while others charge you by the hour or kW.
How Do You Keep Electric Car Charging Costs Low?
Keeping your charging costs low is really about being savvy and planning ahead. There are several things you can do to lower your charging costs and keep them low.
Savvy Owners Save Money
What do we mean by being savvy? Well, we mean you know the system and know how to use it to your advantage. An example of this is using a site like OpenCharge Map to find the nearest free charging port. Free energy is better than paying for a charge. So, a savvy owner uses clever websites to find places to charge their car without paying any money.
Likewise, a savvy owner looks for grants and schemes to get other people to pay their bills. You could find a government grant to pay up to 75% of the cost of installing a home charging point. Special energy tariffs, like Green Energy’s TIDE, can save you money on your electricity bills.
Planning Ahead Saves Money
By planning ahead, you can save money because you can choose the lowest-cost charging points. You can also think through your most common journeys to organise your power usage. Let’s show you what we mean.
Imagine you live and work in London, but you don’t have a home charging point. You can use your network’s map to find free charging points for your car. Then, you can plan your journey to drive to the charging point and walk or commute to work while your car is being charged. Free charging saves money.
Another way to do this is to plan for lunchtime charging. Book a table at a restaurant close to a free charging point. Take a picnic to a park near the network’s free spots. Both these methods can save you big money in the long term.
Can You Save Money When Choosing to Drive an Electric Car?
Are electric cars cheaper than petrol and diesel cars? In a way, this question is academic. The government is already trying to phase out cars powered by fossil fuels during the next couple of decades. Soon, there will not be a choice.
In the meantime, there are definite savings to be gained from using electric cars. Here are some ways you can save money.
While it is possible to charge your car for free, no one ever gives out free gas. Savvy EV owners can get incredibly low charging rates, and this can save money versus petrol and diesel cars. EV owners can also power their cars through solar energy. Fossil fuels are simply more costly.
Government grants are available to offset some of the costs of owning an electric vehicle. For example, we have mentioned grants you can leverage to pay for your home charging port. Other government schemes can pay for solar panels. Businesses can use government tax schemes to lower their tax bill through writing off charging costs.
Lower Maintenance Costs
EV owners can expect to save money on vehicle maintenance costs. Simple examples show where these savings come from. Electric cars do not need frequent oil changes nor do they need exhaust tune-ups and replacements.
Currently, the top selling EV in the UK is the Nissan Leaf. Compared to a VW Golf, the Leaf is 20% cheaper to keep on the road. These savings are dependent on the car, but the general rule is accurate. Electric cars cost less to maintain.
There is currently no road tax charged on zero-emission cars. This is a big savings that could add up to several hundred pounds every year.
For companies, there is no company car tax on electric vehicles. Companies can use this advantage to maintain fleets of electric cars at much lower cost than using fossil fuel vehicles.
According to Transport for London, the cleaner vehicle discount scheme offers up to 100% discount for electric cars. For those who live or work in London, this savings could add up to a huge amount of money every year.
Owning and charging electric cars is, in general, cheaper than driving a fossil fuel car. There isn’t a simple answer to how much it costs to charge an electric car. Savvy owners can find big savings through following our tips and plans.