During the first nine months of 2020, electric vehicle registrations in the UK were up by 127%. This is a result of the ever-increasing demand for sustainable alternatives to regular fuels. There is often a lot of confusion surrounding electrical cars – at first, glance they can seem more expensive than their petrol and diesel counterparts – this is because they tend to be more expensive to purchase.
However, it is worth calculating the monthly energy cost of running an electric vehicle as this can save you lots of money over time, making the switch to a battery-powered car a great investment.
Charging an electric vehicle at home
Generally, it can cost you around £8.40 for a full charge at home. This can depend on the range of the car and the battery, as the cost to charge the electric vehicle can fluctuate. It is usually the easiest and most economical way to charge your car, as an overnight charge at home will leave it with a full battery every day – far more efficient than having to find a petrol station every few days.
In most cases, electric charge points at your home charge your vehicle faster. They usually take under 7 hours to fully charge the battery, unless you use a public rapid charge point (though they are a lot more expensive). Charge points installed at home are far more convenient than having to be reliant on public charging stops throughout your journey.
As well as this, home charging points are cheaper than using public stations. The UK government currently offers the OLEV grant, which gives you 75% off of the charger cost. Whilst the actual cost of charging can differ, some electric vehicle chargers can even give you free energy by diverting excess power from already existing solar panels at your home. Most companies will also offer off-peak tariffs. This means that it can be an incredibly affordable option in the long term.
How do you keep charging costs low?
While electricity is cheaper than using fuel to run your car, it is best to compare the tariffs between energy suppliers in order to find the best deal. Many companies will offer deals that mean you can charge your car overnight for a better price by offering reduced rates between midnight and 5 am. This is because the demand for energy at this time of night is low.
The type of electric car that you own can also affect how much it costs to charge the vehicle. If you tend to take longer journeys in your vehicle it is well worth ensuring that your car is battery-electric powered, rather than a plug-in hybrid. This is because hybrid cars can only hold around 70 miles of charge before they switch to the engine, meaning you need to make sure your car has fuel in. This will cost you far more over time than if you had a fully charged battery electric vehicle.
The way you drive can increase the amount you need to charge your car. This is because faster driving takes more energy from the battery, as does constantly driving up hills. Watching your autonomy can ensure that you spend less time charging your vehicle, ultimately reducing the amount you spend
Electric vehicle models
Most of the major car companies have now brought out hybrid, or fully electrical vehicles. The cost of charging is heavily dependent on the model you buy.
Mini have partnered with OVO energy, allowing their customers to claim 5,000 free off-peak miles alongside their home charging system. This is a great offer that can save you a considerable amount when charging your car. Mini claim that their electric cars are between 2.5 to 6 times cheaper than driving a regular fuelled car, at a cost of just 4p per mile.
The Nissan Leaf is one of the most popular electric vehicles in the UK. They have two different models: The Leaf is suitable for city driving, with up to 168 miles of charge, and the Leaf E+ is great for open road cruising with a larger battery capacity of 239 miles. These cars have a multitude of modes that can conserve energy while you drive; their super-fast chargers are able to take the battery from 20%-80% in around 60 minutes.
Tesla is famous for its attractive electric vehicles, though they come with a hefty price tag. Their model S 100D costs around 4.4p per kWh to charge and they have a battery capacity of 320 miles – much larger than the vast majority of other cars on the market. Tesla’s customer service is outstanding, with a network of recommended electricians that will conduct a free site visit and online installation manuals that can be used by local tradespeople. Tesla also has a network of superchargers across the UK, allowing you peace of mind when travelling long distance, though it is considerably cheaper to charge your vehicle at home.
Energy company tariffs
We know that off-peak rates are a great way to lower the cost of charging your electric vehicle, however, currently not all energy companies offer this type of tariff. Despite this, the increase in electric vehicle’s popularity over recent years has meant that many companies have begun to tap into this market. Before committing to a company or tariff, it is advised to consider how much energy you will be using on average, as well as what time of day you will be charging your car.
Generally, with electric vehicle tariffs, you will need a smart meter in your home and the bill must be collected by monthly direct debit – these tariffs are not usually available on prepaid meters. Many companies offer discounts and rewards to help you save money on your electricity bill.
Octopus Energy are one of the frontrunners in tariffs for electric vehicles. When you lease a car and switch to their October Energy’s Go Tariff, they offer 8,000 miles of free electricity credited to your account. This is based off of their generous off-peak tariff, that is just 5p per kWh.
EDF Energy are another company that have great value off-peak tariff deals. At just 4.5p per kWh (between midnight and 5am), this is one of the cheapest off-peak tariffs on the market. They also offer a GoElectric 98 deal that allows you to save half of the cost of electricity on weekday evenings and all weekend. They stress that it is easy to switch your tariff to them once a smart meter has been installed that allows you to monitor your energy consumption.
What’s the verdict?
An electric vehicle can be a great investment that saves you a lot of money in fuel costs. While they are currently more expensive to buy than a petrol/diesel car, the increase in demand will eventually drive down the initial cost of the vehicle, making them a viable option for everybody. Charging your vehicle at home is the most cost-efficient option – energy companies are already beginning to target the market on this, and with a little bit of research, you can find a great deal for you and your vehicle.