Here is our guide to EV charging costs in the UK. The absolute cheapest way to charge your electric car is to:
- Have a home charging point (with smart capability)
- Use a cheap overnight electricity tariff and always charge your car at night
This could be up to 90% cheaper per year than refuelling with petrol or diesel. Even if you have a basic home charger and a standard electricity tariff you can still expect to save 75% (based on our own experience).
It’s worth shopping around for special EV tariffs. Some examples are:
If you don’t have a home charger you will need to use public charging networks. This is more expensive but you can still achieve typical savings of 35-40% compared to diesel/petrol. The options you have on the road are:
- Public charge stations run by commercial network operators
- Tesla superchargers (Tesla cars only)
- Work premises (sometimes free!)
- Other locations such as hotels, supermarkets and car parks
- Car dealers (if you are really stuck..)
See the table below for some typical costs compared to fuelling a VW Golf petrol car:
Tesla Model S
VW Golf 1.4 TSI
11gal @ 35mpg
(off peak 8p/kWh)
£57.20 per tank
(std rate 15p/kWh)
Public charging (30p/kWh)
£ Cost for 10,000 miles**
*Typical real-world range averaged over a year. Will be lower in winter but could be higher with careful driving and conditions.
**Std home charging costs used in comparison. VW Golf fuel calculation: 35mpg or 8.07L/100km – 10,000 miles = 1,291L @£1.15 per litre.
Even if you use 100% public charging you can see that both electric cars are significantly cheaper to run than the petrol car.
Public Charging Rates
The example shown above is 30p per kWh which is fairly typical. Charges vary by network, and also if you have a membership rather than payg (pay-as-you-go). Some examples below:
- BP Pulse / Polar: £7.85p/m membership and then £0.15kWh
- Ecotricity: £3 connection fee then £0.17kWh. Connection fee waived if you have a home Ecotricity tariff. Chargers mostly at Motorway services and Ikea stores.
- D2N2 (chargemycar): £20 annual RFID card fee then £0.20kWh.
- Ionity: £0.69kWh (payg)
- Tesla: £0.26kWh (free for Model S & X manufactured before 2017)
- PodPoint @ Tesco supermarkets: £free! (for fast 7kW charging only)
Rates accurate at Jan 2021
Payment for EV charging
Unfortunately there is no single payment scheme for all UK charging networks, so you will need to do some research to find out which is the best for you. The main consideration will usually be how much charging you do at home and how much on the road.
Some network providers offer contactless debit/credit card payment with a single PAYG rate, which makes it easy if you only need to infrequently top up.
Others charge an hourly rate plus a kWh charge for electricity used. A few networks require you to use their app to connect and charge. We recommend registering with at least 2 providers so you have enough options when needing to recharge.
Why not check out our page on EV total cost of ownership