Paul Holdsworth, Engineer
31 Jan : Updated 27 Nov ● 11 min read
The UK government is set to begin the phasing out of petrol and diesel vehicles in 2030, and with this in mind, an increasing number of us are making, or at least thinking about making, the switch to an EV for the first time.
Add to this the rising petrol and diesel prices, and it’s easy to see why many are considering an electric vehicle sooner rather than later.
But how much does it cost to charge an electric car in the UK? And how much does it cost to charge electric cars at home compared to public stations?
In this guide, we'll discuss everything you need to know about the cost of running an electric car.
Before we discuss the costs of running an electric car, what is the average cost of purchasing one?
In the UK, the cost can range between £22,225 to £157,160. Luxury brands like Tesla, Mercedes and Jaguar also sell high-end electric cars that can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Now, one thing you might want to consider is that even though an electric vehicle might have a higher upfront price tag, more expensive models typically have bigger or more economical batteries with longer ranges. This will mean that you'll be able to drive further distances on a single charge and, consequently, may end up spending less at charging stations in the long run.
A £22,225 vehicle, for example, only has 16.7 kWh, so it will only travel 60 miles. The average cost you can expect to pay for relatively decent mileage is around £30,000. The kWh ranges from 30 to 50, so you should be able to find an electric vehicle that suits your needs and price range.
It is also possible to buy hybrid vehicles and second-hand EVs, which can lower the price quite significantly.
Hybrid vehicles use both a combustion engine and an electric motor which means if your car is struggling to run on electric, you’ll have a backup fuel source. The cheapest hybrid vehicles will cost you around £21,000 to buy new, whilst second-hand models will only set you back between £5,000 and £10,000, depending on the age of the vehicle and the number of miles it’s already clocked up.
Before you purchase a second-hand car, though, it’s important to factor in any additional investment you might need to make on maintenance or repairs to ensure the vehicle runs smoothly and remains roadworthy.
Many different factors come into play when you charge an electric car. Whether you charge the car at home or in public, you must also consider how much battery your car can manage and how long you expect to travel before the charge runs out.
Unlike petrol or diesel cars, how much it is to charge an electric car will vary depending on how you choose to charge it. The following options will show you the cost of charging an electric car in the UK.
According to PodPoint, most rapid chargers cost, on average, £22 for 30 minutes of charging (73p/kWh). These prices will vary from station to station, though, so expect to pay slightly more or less depending on where you’re charging.
The management of the public charging station is free to establish their own rates meaning this can differ from place to place, and while most public charging points charge a fee, some can be free.
Even the cheapest public chargers cost approximately twice as much as a home charger, and the most costly might cost more than refuelling a diesel or petrol car.
Additionally, users of public charging points have to pay 20% VAT on the electricity they buy, compared to those who use residential energy, which has a 5% VAT rate.
This helps explain why most electric car drivers prefer to charge their electric cars at home, with just a small percentage of drivers depending entirely on public charging stations, often when travelling on a long journey and being faced with no other option.
The rising adoption of electric cars has resulted in a quickly developing charging network, which means you have an increasing number of options available.
To make charging your EV as quick and easy as possible, we recommend getting a fast charger installed at home. These are far more cost-effective and convenient than relying on public charging stations, as you can simply plug in and recharge overnight whilst your car is parked on your driveway or in your garage.
As electric vehicles become more and more popular amongst UK drivers, so too do home charging solutions. Now, approximately 80% of EV owners have their own chargers installed at home to take advantage of cheaper charging rates and greater flexibility.
In terms of the costs associated with charging at home, it all depends on the price of your electricity. The price per kWh varies depending on your location, energy provider, the type of meter you have, the tariff you’re on, and how you choose to pay your bills.
For customers on standard variable tariffs, the current price cap for electricity in the UK is 27p per kWh (down from 30p per kWh in the period from 1st July to 30th September) with a standing charge of 53p per day. Ofgem updates its pricing information each quarter, so these rates are subject to change.
Some energy providers offer special rates for EV owners to make recharging their vehicles at home more affordable. For example, EDF’s GoElectric tariff has off-peak rates at 8p per kWh, meaning you can plug in overnight to benefit from significantly lower prices.
Whether you're contemplating electrifying your fleet or have multiple workers who use electric cars, workplace charging has significant benefits.
The costs of charging electric cars at work can vary between companies, with some offering free charging and others demanding a fee.
If businesses are interested in helping employees with their commutes then they can take advantage of the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), which allows businesses to purchase and install EV charge points. This scheme helps cover 75% of the cost, with £350 per socket and 40 sockets across all sites.
You’ll find electric charging points at just about every motorway service station across the country. These are usually rapid chargers, too, but this is likely the most expensive way of recharging your vehicle.
The GRIDSERVE Electric Highway charging network offers more than 300 charging stations, both at motorway services and other public locations, offering a mix of 22kW, 60kW rapid and (up to) 360 kW ultra-rapid chargers.
Power: Up to 350kW
Connector types: CCS and CHAdeMO
Price: 69p per kWh (this is fixed regardless of whether you charge using a 60kW or 350kW charger)
Power: Up to 22kW
Connector types: Type 2
Price: 49p per kWh
The lifespan & maintenance costs of electric cars
Another thing to consider is the electric car maintenance costs. Since EVs require fewer parts than petrol or diesel cars, they can cost around 30% less to service.
Although there are fewer parts to replace, the main areas that need the most focus are the brakes and exhaust, but what are the major costs involved?
The average annual running cost of an electric vehicle is £1,742 per year (or £33.50 per week). An EV battery can also run for 100,000 to 200,000 miles which is the equivalent of 15 to 20 years.
When we compare this with insights from experts at WeBuyAnyCar and Autocar showing that the average lifespan of a petrol or diesel car is between 10 and 12 years, investing in an electric vehicle becomes all the more attractive.
It’s worth noting, though, that electric vehicles (just like boilers, air conditioning systems and solar panels) need regular servicing to remain in tip-top condition. By getting your EV checked over annually by a trained mechanic, you can save money in the long run by fixing any issues promptly.
While petrol and diesel cars may be cheaper to purchase, their lower running costs make EVs a more economical and cost-effective investment.
Electricity is far cheaper than petrol or diesel. When comparing the five most popular electric vehicles against popular petrol cars in the UK, we can see how their costs compare, assuming an at-home cost of electricity is 27p per kWh and a per-litre petrol cost is 159.10p (the current averages in the UK).
|Petrol Vehicle*||Cost to Fuel||Electric Vehicle||Cost to Charge|
|Vauxhall Corsa||£71.60||Tesla Model 3||£16.10|
|Kia Sportage||£87.50||Kia e-Niro||£17.92|
|Ford Puma||£71.60||Volkswagen ID.3||£16.24|
|Hyundai Tucson||£85.91||Nissan Leaf||£11.20|
|Mini Cooper||£70.40||Audi E-tron||£23.80|
*Calculations based on the fuel tank capacities of the most popular models. Your actual refuelling cost may vary depending on the size of your car’s fuel tank.
We can break this down even further, looking at the fuel efficiencies of petrol vehicles against electric vehicles. Based on an average annual mileage of 7,400, here are estimations for how much it might cost to refuel over the course of a year, depending on your vehicle type.
|Petrol vehicle||Cost per mile||Annual fuel cost||Electric vehicle||Cost per mile||Cost to charge|
Average fuel efficiency: 45 mpg
|34.90p||£2,582.60||Tesla Model 3|
Efficiency: 18.7 kWh/100 miles
Average fuel efficiency: 40 mpg
Efficiency: 18.7 kWh/100 miles
Average fuel efficiency: 50 mpg
Efficiency: 16.5 kWh/100 miles
Average fuel efficiency: 42 mpg
Efficiency: 21.2 kWh/100 miles
Average fuel efficiency: 38 mpg
Efficiency: 24.1 kWh/100 miles
The length of time it takes to recharge the batteries in electric vehicles can vary depending on the make and model of the car in question, its age and the type of charger being used.
Over time, electric cars can lose charge when parked, even when they aren’t being driven, so it's important to keep your car charged up. Depending on the speed of the charging station and the size of the battery, it could take anywhere from 30 minutes up to 12 hours.
Read our in-depth guide on how long it takes to charge an electric car for more information.
A car's 60kWh battery can take approximately 8 hours to charge from empty to full using a standard 7kW home charging outlet. By comparison, a 50kW rapid charger can charge up to 100 miles in less than 35 minutes for most electric car brands.
The size of your car's battery and the speed of the charging station will determine how long it takes for your car's battery to charge fully from empty, so it's best to check the EV charger requirements.
Along with checking prices to obtain the cheapest EV tariff, here are a few cost-cutting charging tips:
Monitor the life and health of your battery with a smart EV charging app that tracks your use. Because the best EV energy tariffs also need a smart meter installed in the home, you can download the accompanying app to understand your household's energy use better.
Recharging the battery after depleting it to its lowest capacity requires additional energy. A decent rule of thumb is to keep it above 20%.
Lithium-ion batteries may be destroyed if they get too hot, so it's critical to shelter your car from direct sunlight to save money on repair and maintenance. Locate charging stations in the shade and, if feasible, park your EV in a garage.
Choose BOXT for EV charger installationGet your fixed price now
As the UK moves closer to its target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, green technologies such as electric cars and solar panel systems are becoming increasingly important.
At BOXT, we understand that keeping your home’s bills and carbon footprint as low as possible is crucial, which is why we’re working hard to make things fairer for everyone.
Our team of expert engineers and installers works nationwide to provide you with EV chargers, A-rated boilers, home solar panel systems and more. Use our Find an EV charger tool to get started and learn how much you could save by getting a charging point installed at home.