Updated: Apr 13
As electric vehicles (EVs) gain popularity in the UK, potential buyers often wonder about the costs associated with charging their new vehicle. In this article, we'll break down the factors affecting EV charging costs, including electricity rates, charging methods, and efficiency.
The primary factor affecting the cost of charging an EV is the electricity rate, which varies depending on your location and utility provider. In the UK, the average residential electricity rate is approximately £0.16 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). However, some providers offer discounted rates for off-peak hours, which can lower the cost of charging your EV. Read about British Gas electricity rates here.
There are three primary methods for charging an EV: Level 1, Level 2, and rapid charging. Each method has different charging speeds and associated costs.
Level 1 charging uses a standard 240-volt household outlet. It is the slowest method, providing around 2-5 miles of range per hour of charging. However, it requires no additional equipment, making it the most affordable option for home charging.
Level 2 charging requires a dedicated charging station, typically installed at home or available at public charging points. It provides 10-20 miles of range per hour, making it significantly faster than Level 1 charging. The cost of a Level 2 charging station ranges from £300 to £800, not including installation.
Rapid charging stations, often found at public charging networks, provide the fastest charging speeds, adding up to 100 miles of range in just 30 minutes. The cost of using a rapid charging station varies depending on the network and can range from £0.25 to £0.50 per kWh.
The efficiency of your EV, measured in miles per kWh, also impacts the cost of charging. More efficient vehicles travel further on a single kWh of electricity, resulting in lower charging costs. For example, a vehicle with an efficiency of 4 miles per kWh will have a charging cost of approximately £0.04 per mile at the average electricity rate of £0.16 per kWh.
Calculating Charging Costs
To calculate the cost of charging an EV, consider the electricity rate, charging method, and vehicle efficiency. For example, if you have an EV with a 60 kWh battery and an efficiency of 4 miles per kWh, you can calculate the cost as follows:
60 kWh (battery capacity) x £0.16 (electricity rate) = £9.60 (total cost to fully charge the battery)
With a full charge providing 240 miles of range (60 kWh x 4 miles per kWh), the cost per mile would be approximately £0.04.
Comparing EV Charging Costs to Petrol
Comparing the cost of charging an EV to the cost of fuelling a petrol vehicle can provide a clearer understanding of potential savings. With the average petrol price in the UK at around £1.40 per litre and an average fuel efficiency of 45 miles per gallon (equivalent to 9.9 litres), the cost per mile for a petrol vehicle would be approximately £0.14.
Charging an electric vehicle is generally more cost-effective than fuelling a petrol-powered car in the UK. However, the cost of charging an EV depends on various factors, including electricity rates, charging methods, and vehicle efficiency. By considering these factors, you can gain a better understanding of the potential savings and benefits of driving an electric vehicle.