How Much does It Cost To Charge And Run An Electric Car?

4th September 2020
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We all know that electric cars are more environmentally friendly than traditional petrol or diesel vehicles. Unfortunately, many of us have been unable to make the switch due to the much higher cost of electric cars compared to fossil fuel vehicles. However, this may be about to change. Predictions suggest that the cost of owning an electric vehicle in the UK will be on a par with the cost of petrol and diesel vehicle ownership within the next five years. This would mean that owning an electric car could well become a realistic option for many more drivers.

Why buy an electric car?

Electric vehicles have a lot to offer. They are practical, easy to drive, and affordable to run. But the question may be on your mind of how much it actually costs to charge and run an electric car. The good news is that an electric car is likely to cost you far less over the time you own it than a traditionally fuelled vehicle. Electricity is much cheaper than petrol or diesel. An additional benefit is that electric cars generally require far less maintenance than an internal combustion engine.

When you are considering buying your electric car, it is worth doing some research into the various incentives that are on offer to help you with the initial outlay. There are government grants and schemes, Vehicle Excise Duty discounts or exemption, and exemption from Fuel Duty. It is also possible to benefit from a discount in the Congestion Charge Zone, or even qualify for driving in this area for free.

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A wide range of EV

In the same way as there are many different options available when selecting a petrol or diesel car, there is equally a wide range of choice for electric car drivers. The cost of buying and running an electric will vary depending on the model, make and specifics of the vehicle. There are some high-end luxury models available. For example, the Nio EP9 is an electric car for real driving enthusiasts for whom price is no object. It comes with a whopping price tag of £1.2million! However, there are plenty of more affordable electric vehicles which offer a realistic option for the majority of us.

One of the most affordable electric cars is the Renault Zoe. This nifty vehicle is only around £25000 and has a range of 245 miles. For a slightly bigger family model, you may wish to consider the MG ZS EV, which costs around £22000 and runs for 163 miles. Although this is a shorter range, this vehicle offers plenty of space to cater for the whole family. A mid-range saloon, such as the Hyundai Ioniq, costs around £29500 with a range of 194 miles, whereas a sportier model like the Tesla Model S is available from £77700.

 

Leasing an electric car can be a good option

An alternative to buying an electric vehicle outright is leasing. This would allow you to try out a new electric car and you are able to tailor repayments to suit your budget. An added advantage to leasing is that it removes any worry about depreciation cost, as you can simply hand the electric car back at the end of the lease and choose another vehicle.

 

How much does it cost?

How much it costs to charge your electric car at a public charge point is dependent on the charge point network and the location of the charge points themselves. Sometimes they are free to us on the condition that you have access to a network subscription. Alternatively, many local authorities offer a pay per session scheme for on-street charge points.

There are three main different types of public charge points. The slower charge points tend to be the ones that are located on the street, often by lampposts. Car parks tend to offer a faster alternative and the rapid charge points are usually those available at motorway service stations. The cost of these public charge points will vary depending on the type of charge point and the power rating.

The rapid charge points, typically located at motorway service stations, are sometimes offered for free to certain drivers, but more commonly these are the most expensive type of charge point. This is because they offer faster charging and greater convenience. Being able to charge your electric car to 80% within 20 to 40 minutes comes at a premium price.

As some examples of charge point prices, Lidl offers Pod Point rapid chargers at a cost of 23p/kWh and Tesco charges 24p/kWh for the same type. This equates to about £6 or £7 for 30 minutes of charging which would give the car around 100 miles of range.

If you own a Tesla electric car, then you are able to access the Tesla Supercharger Network. This has the advantage of being completely free for older vehicles and offers a set number of free hours for new vehicles, post January 2017, too.

The UK government has recently announced that the aim is to ensure that all newly installed rapid and higher-powered charge points offer the capability to pay by debit or credit card by the end of Spring 2020. This would increase convenience for electric car drivers even further.

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Charging from your own home

It is great that there are so many options for charging your electric vehicle in public. However, there will be times when you want to charge your car from the comfort of your own home. Indeed, for many electric car owners, this will be their main charging option. The cost of charging your car will be included in your normal household electricity bill. It is important to ensure that you are on the best home energy tariff to keep costs as low as possible.

Exactly how much home charging will set you back does depend on the amount of charging that you need to do, the type of charger you have, and the balance between home and public charging. Getting a home charge point installed generally costs around £1000, but you could reduce these upfront costs. With a grant from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), you could push the cost down by up to £500.

If you travel around 8000 miles per year in your car, this roughly equates to around 2800 kWh of additional electricity which will be added to your household electricity bill. This means that it is crucial to shop around for the best value energy tariff. You may want to consider looking at off-peak prices. Often lower electricity prices are available over night, as this is when demand on the grid is less and energy prices are cheaper. In addition, it is worth thinking about the number of off-peak hours available on your electricity tariff. If you own an electric car with a longer charging period, such as the Renault Zoe with its 30kW battery, then you would be wise to investigate tariffs which include longer off-peak charging periods.

While this may seem overwhelming, it is worth making the switch as the running costs of electric cars are significantly lower than petrol or diesel cars. Assuming that fuel costs £1.25 per litre, a petrol car costs around 11p per mile over 100 miles of travel. However, an electric car would only cost 4p per mile for the same distance.

 

Support from the government

The UK government wants to encourage people to make the switch to electric vehicles. As such, they are offering support to make this more affordable. There are a number of government grants available to help with both the upfront costs of buying an electric vehicle and also installing a home charging point.

With vehicle tax now based on carbon dioxide emissions, purely electric cars are completely exempt from paying any vehicle tax for the first year. For most electric car owners, subsequent years will also be free. However, if your vehicle cost over £40000, you will have to pay some vehicle tax for the following five year, but it will be at a lower rate than petrol or diesel cars.

 

Lower maintenance costs

Maintenance costs are also generally much lower for electric cars than for petrol or diesel cars. Electric cars have fewer moving parts and so this naturally means that there are fewer things to go wrong. Many leasing companies and manufacturers are able to offer maintenance packages for an optional additional cost, which would help to cover any unforeseen circumstances.

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Congestion charge exemption?

If you live in London or regularly travel there in a car, then you may also benefit from an exemption from the Congestion Charge. Electric vehicles are eligible for an exemption from both the London Congestion Charge and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge. To qualify for the exemption, drivers simply register their electric vehicle with Transport for London (TfL) at a cost of £10. It is worth noting that this then needs renewing each year for your vehicle to continue to be eligible. A typical daily charge for an unregistered car to drive in London is £24 per day, so this is certainly good value for money and will help you to save even more £££ with your electric vehicle.

There are many factors to take into consideration when thinking about making the change to electric vehicle ownership. Overall, you should see benefits with less maintenance and lower running costs. Combined with the offer of government grants and the knowledge that it will be much better for the environment, it is a great idea to start considering whether you could make this change in the near future.

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