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The cost of charging an electric car

If you’re considering buying an electric car, you’re probably wondering how much it’s going to cost to charge it. Take a look at the cost of charging an electric car at home, work and when you’re out and about.

If you’re considering buying an electric car, you’re probably wondering how much it’s going to cost to charge it. Take a look at the cost of charging an electric car at home, work and when you’re out and about.

Written by
Dan Tremain
Energy and business energy expert
Last Updated
30 APRIL 2024
6 min read
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How much does it cost to charge my electric car at home?

Charging your car at home overnight is generally the cheapest and most convenient way to top up your electric vehicle (EV). But, overall, the cost depends on:

  • Your vehicle and its battery size – typically, the larger and heavier the car, the more power you’ll need to charge the battery.
  • The type of charger you have.
  • The amount of charging you do. Do you top up often or prefer to charge from low to full less frequently?
  • The tariff you’re paying for your electricity. 

Obviously the lower your tariff, the lower the cost of the charge. Some energy providers will offer off-peak or smart off-peak tariffs, which cost less and can be helpful if you charge your car overnight. Typical costs for a full charge could be about £17.

The table below gives estimated examples of how much it could cost to charge three types of new EV at home*.

Car make and model Home charger power Charging time Estimated real-world range Cost to fully charge Cost per mile
Kia Niro EV 7kW 9.3 hrs 259 miles £18 6.8p
Hyundai Ioniq 5 7kW 8.3 hrs 195 miles £16 8p
Fiat 500 Hatch 7kW 3.4 hrs 101 miles £6.48 6.4p

*Based on Zapmap’s home charging calculator December 2023.

If you’re worried about how much charging at home is going to add to your energy bill, then make sure you compare suppliers to find the right deal for you. Some suppliers offer special tariffs aimed at EV owners for charging at home overnight.

What’s the cost of installing a charge point at home?

A home charger typically costs between £900 and £1,200 to install. However, the exact price will depend on the provider and model you go with.

Home chargers generally charge at a speed of 3kW or 7kW. Although a 3kW charger is cheaper, charging your car will take longer. In theory, you can even plug an EV into a standard wall socket, but it will take so long to charge that it’s only really practical for emergency use.

Fitting a home charger is a substantial outlay, but if you live in rented accommodation or own a flat with dedicated off-street parking, you could apply for a government grant of up to £350 off the cost of installation.

Can I charge my electric vehicle away from home?

While most charging happens at home, there are now more than 49,220 public charging points in the UK, including 8,908 rapid chargers, according to government figures as of 1 October 2023. This represents a 42% increase in the number of public devices available compared with the previous year.

However, the locations for these charging points aren’t evenly spread around the UK. For example, Northern Ireland has 23 charging points per 100,000 of the population, whereas London, easily the best served area, has 193 per 100,000. In the North East, there has actually been a fall in the number of charging points available.

In December 2023 at the COP28 summit in Dubai, the government announced that it would be ploughing £70 million into a pilot scheme to roll out more ultra-fast EV chargers at 10 motorway service stations in England.

How much does it cost to charge my electric vehicle at work?

Most businesses that have workplace charging points will let employees use them for free while they’re at work.

Some use time-based charging to encourage people to share charge points, while others offer free charging for a set period then charge a fee after this to encourage employees to free up spaces for co-workers.

A growing number of employees are driving electric vehicles, so installing chargers at workplaces is one of the incentives businesses are now using to attract and retain staff. Businesses and public sector organisations can apply for funding for charge points through the Workplace Charging Scheme.

How much does it cost to charge my EV at public charging stations?

Fees vary depending on the charging networks you use, but the average cost is around £22-£26 for a full charge.

Networks include fuel providers like Shell and bp pulse, or independent specialists like Pod Point, InstaVolt and GeniePoint, while Tesla owners have their own charging network.

Some providers might charge you a monthly fee on top of the cost of powering-up your car, but may allow unregistered users to charge up at a higher rate.

Also, it can be complicated to use them. Typically, you have to become a member of the charging network, download an app and pay via the app or a card issued by the network. But some charge points are now beginning to accept contactless debit and credit card payments. Some charging stations also have off-peak rates. The apps have maps to show you where your nearest charging station is.

Subscribing to a network could be a good idea if you use your electric car or plug-in hybrid for regular long journeys.

How much does rapid charging on the motorway cost?

Rapid and ultra-rapid charging points are normally found at motorway service stations and are generally the most expensive way to top up your EV battery.

Rapid charges often add a premium for speed, so you might expect to pay around £19 for a 30-minute rapid charge, which would give you an extra range of 90-110 miles.

According to Zapmap, the cost of charging an electric car on one of the UK’s top 10 rapid charging networks varies between 62p/kWh and 85p/kWh, as of December 2023.

Are there free electric car public charging points?

Places like supermarkets, public car parks, shopping centres, large hotels and leisure centres may let you charge your electric car for free while it’s parked there. You might need to be a customer or guest to use their charging facilities, though. Some of these types of venue will still require you to pay the charging fee, so check first.

Some of the networks may offer free charging facilities in particular places, and early adopters of Tesla get free charges or an allowance that they don’t have to pay for.

What about car insurance for electric cars?

Getting car insurance for an electric vehicle is virtually the same as getting insurance for a regular car, and you won’t need a specialist policy. The key to getting value for money is to compare quotes from different insurance providers – we can help with that.

So whether you’re looking for a quote on your car insurance or seeking a better energy deal, compare now and see if you could save.

Frequently asked questions

Is EV charging cheaper than filling up with petrol?

If you mostly charge your electric car at home, it’s significantly cheaper than filling up your car with petrol or diesel. Even though you’ll see a rise in your electricity bill, this will be more than offset by the savings you make on petrol or diesel, at rates for fuel and power at the time of writing.

If you have to rely on expensive public charging, however, you might find that you end up paying more to drive your car.

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

It could take anything from 12 hours to 30 minutes depending on the speed of the charging point and the battery size.

What if I need to charge my electric car quickly?

Many motorway services have rapid or even ultra-rapid charging stations for when you get caught short, but it comes at a price. Most service stations will bill you about £19 for a 30-minute charge.

How often do you need to charge your electric car?

This depends on the type and brand of electric car you own, and how often you drive it. Having said that, most models claim to provide between 100 and 300 miles on a single charge, while some of the newest top-of-the-range models can keep going for well over 400 miles.

Can I take my EV battery charger with me when I move house?

It’s certainly possible to take your EV charger with you when you move, as long as your new home and power supply are suitable. However, you won’t be able to take the cables attached to the unit. 

You’ll need to weigh up the cost of having a qualified electrician remove the charger and install it at your new property. It might work out cheaper to have a completely new charger installed instead.

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