How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Open gallery Close News by James Disdale 9 mins read 19 June 2023 Share

One of the biggest incentives to switching to an EV (electric vehicle), claimed environmental benefits aside, is the reduction in running costs.

Of course the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, fuelled by increased energy prices, has meant that drivers of EVs and ICE cars alike are taking a bigger hit to the wallet, but inflated fuel costs are still battering owners of the latter harder than those of the former.

This is particularly true when it comes to charging from home, where electricity prices are lower than you’ll typically pay at a public charging station. This is particularly relevant when you consider that more than 90% of EV drivers do most of their charging domestically.

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Not only does this allow them to access energy more cheaply, it means they can leave home each morning with a ‘full tank’, having topped-up overnight when electricity should be at its cheapest.

Yet there’s no denying the gap between running an EV and an ICE machine is narrowing, a situation that’s not helped by the much higher initial purchase price of an electric car over it’s fossil fuel-fired equivalent – as an example, you’ll pay £11,000 more for a battery-powered Peugeot e-208 compared to an otherwise identical petrol version.

Then there’s the increased cost of using the network of public chargers, with some of the rapid DC units that can add as much as 80% battery capacity in well under half an hour costing drivers nearly as much as filling the tank of a traditional ICE machine. Of course, there are cheaper options, but they’re not as quick and usually not as conveniently located. 

So, with the UK Government still planning to ban the sale of all pure ICE cars by 2030, and various global events continuing to rock energy markets, it’s more important than ever to take a deep dive into the costs of charging an EV.

So, here’s Autocar’s complete guide to doing just that.

How much will it cost to charge my car at home?

As we’ve already seen, the vast majority of EV drivers plug-in at home where it’s not only cheaper, it’s far more convenient as it allows you to start everyday with a fully charged car. Obviously it depends on the car you’re charging and your electricity supplier’s tariff, but even with the recent hikes in electricity prices, you will still be saving cash on every refill compared with a traditional petrol or diesel car.

For example, when plugging in a 64kWh Kia e-Niro with a claimed 281-mile range, it should cost around £20 for a full charge, based on the current average cost of 34p per kWh (according the Government’s Energy Price guarantee as of the first quarter of 2023).

Now, that’s a lot more expensive than a year or two ago when off-peak tariffs were as little as 12p per kWh, but based on the car’s claimed range of 285 miles, then twenty quid isn’t bad for a tankful – you’d expect to pay around a third more to fuel an equivalent petrol hatchback over the same distance.


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Better still, invest in one of the latest ‘smart’ wallboxes and you can use an app on your phone to programme the unit to only charge when electricity is cheapest, typically overnight.

Moreover, if your home has solar panels, some chargers can use this ‘free’ energy to charge your EV, further reducing bills. There are even trials running for bi-directional charging that allows you to ‘sell’ any surplus power from your EV back to the grid.

How much will it cost to install a car charging point at home?

It’s possible to use the factory-supplied three-pin plug charger when refilling your EV’s cells, but charging times are lengthy and most manufacturers claim this device is for emergency use only. 

Either way, if you’re committed to EV ownership and you have access to a driveway or garage, it’s always best to use a dedicated wall-mounted unit, which can charge at up to 7kW, more than twice as fast as the three-pin alternative.

There are a number of different manufacturers to choose from, plus a choice of tethered (with a charging cable permanently attached) or untethered (allowing you to choose different sockets and cables for different cars) layouts.

Regardless of which one makes most sense for your EV, you will need a qualified electrician to check your household wiring is up to the task and then to install the box.

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