Rising energy costs send EV charging prices to record high

Fri 27 May 2022 View all news

A new report from the RAC says that the average price of charging an electric car on a pay-as-you-go, non-subscription basis at a public rapid chargepoint in Britain has risen 21% to 44.55 per kilowatt hour (kWh) since last September. The average cost of an 80% charge of a typical family car with a 64kWh battery has increased from £18.81 to £22.81 over this period. However, the running cost of a battery electric vehicle remains significantly below those of a petrol or diesel vehicle.

It now costs an average 10p per mile to charge at a rapid charger, up from 8p per mile last September, according to the analysis. This is around half the cost per mile of the petrol used to run a typical family car. The cost of a similar sized diesel car is even higher.

The RAC says that price increases facing drivers of electric cars using publicly accessible chargers are a result of the wholesale cost rises of electricity, which is linked to hikes in the cost of gas since a significant proportion of the UK’s electricity is generated by natural gas-fired power stations.

The RAC notes that while the cost of running a battery electric car is significantly lower than a petrol or diesel car for all drivers, those who can't charge at home face significantly higher costs. There is also a higher rate of VAT levied on the electricity at public chargepoints than on home charging. 

RAC electric vehicle spokesperson Simon Williams said: “The most affordable way of charging an electric car isn’t at a public charger – it’s from home, where overnight electricity rates can be much lower than their public charger counterparts...But for people who have no option of charging up at home, there is no opportunity to benefit from these sorts of savings."

The RAC survey is published as new regulations on smart charging come into force. Smart charging can enable EV owners to make significant savings on their charging costs. However, a recent survey showd that almost half of owners are not taking advantage of cheaper off-peak and time of use tariffs. (See related news link.)

recent report by the EV Energy Taskforce (which is convened by Zemo Partnership) says that the introduction of smart charging (at any location - home or public - where the vehicle is parked for a long period of time) is one of five key 'enabling conditions' needed to deliver an effective, optimised EV charging infrastructure in the UK.

Jonathan Murray, Zemo Partnership's Policy Director and lead convenor of the EV Energy Taskforce commented: "The cost of charging at different locations is an increasingly important - and debated - issue. There are clear opportunities to keep the cost of charging down for EV owners and, at the same time, provide benefits to our electricity system. However, to achieve these will require innovation in charging technology, an adaptive regulatory regime and collaborative effort in bringing forward the right charging solutions while making sure users are informed and up-to-speed in terms of how they can benefit from them."

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