Is It Cheaper to Charge an Electric Car at Home?

You may have already heard that electric cars are much cheaper to drive than petrol or diesel engine vehicles. But you might also be wondering, how true is this? If we compare the cost of charging an EV and refuelling a conventional combustion engine car, electricity costs a lot less by at least a few hundred pounds. However, if you choose an inefficient EV or buy an overpriced charger, you might end up spending more to run your electric car.

The Cost of Charging Your EV

With diesel and petrol cars, you’ll know how much you need to allocate for fuel because prices are generally the same at all refuelling stations. But if you have an electric vehicle, the cost of charging can vary. 

For example, plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars have different charging requirements. Consider the battery size of your EV when estimating how much it will cost you to charge your car. Another factor that affects the charging cost is the location of the charge point. Are you using a public station, your home charger, or a free charging network? Prices may differ from one charging point to the next.

Charging Your EV at Home

You may choose to have a dedicated EV charger installed at your home so you can plug in your car overnight. If you drive lots of miles each you may need to do this every night, so having a home charges is ideal. It’s more convenient this way, and in most cases, it’s also cheaper. Having a home wall box provides faster charging, but you may also use just a three-pin plug to charge your electric car. 

With a three-pin plug, you don’t have to worry about the cost of installing a dedicated charger because you only have to use the existing sockets you have at home. The downside here is that it’s going to be a slow charge, so you’ll have to make sure that you plug in your EV for a number of hours, ideally, overnight. 

As for the cost, the average price for every kWh is 14p. If you charge your electric vehicle for 13 hours, that’s going to cost you £6 if you have a 40kWh battery and a 3kW charger. If you charge your EV during off-peak hours, such as during nighttime, then the cost can go down to just £4. 

But what if you want a faster charger? In this case, you’re going to need a home wall box charging unit installed. This fast charger will be able to supply power up to 22kW. While you’ll have to pay for the installation.

Charging at BP Pulse

Different public charging stations may have varying prices. If you want to use BP Pulse, you may choose to purchase a subscription of £7.85 per month. You don’t have to pay to have a membership with BP Pulse to charge your EV, though. You can choose a free standard membership. However, the cost of charging your electric car starts at 34p per kWh. 

Charging at Gridserve

On motorways, Gridserve is the most common provider available. Unlike BP Pulse, you don’t need to sign up for a membership to charge your electric vehicle. Gridserve has output power that ranges from 60kWh to 180kWh, and you only have to pay 30p per kWh. According to Gridserve, their chargers can provide up to 240 miles of charge in just 20 minutes. 

Can I Charge My EV for Free?

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to charge your electric car, the good news is that there are free charging stations all over the UK. You might be lucky enough to have one close to your home, and you won’t have to install a dedicated home wall charger. 

Many businesses, car parks, and retail parks offer free charging. However, the catch is usually that you’d have to be a paying customer, or you’d have to pay parking fees to enjoy the free EV charging. But if you can plan your grocery shopping, for example, so you can charge your car while you’re at Tesco or another supermarket, then it’s a way to save money. These free chargers can provide up to 22kW. If you want to use a rapid charger, unfortunately, they’re not free to use yet.  

Chargers found at supermarkets are usually from the Pod Point network. To use their chargers, you first need to download the Pod Point app on your phone to set up and start charging your EV. In case of emergencies, you can get 15 minutes of charging even without an app. 

Not sure where to find a charging station? Be sure to use Zap-Map. It’s both an app and a website where you can see charging locations across the UK. It’s great, especially if you’re going on a long road trip and you’re not familiar with the place. Also, you can filter the results by plug type, network, and payment method. If you only want to know the free charging stations, you may also filter that through the Payment filter and choose Free to Use. 

At a Glance: Cost of Charging an EV

Let’s look at the estimated annual cost of charging your electric vehicle if you charge at home and you cover 9,000 miles. 

  • Small city cars like Renault Zoe: up to £800 
  • Medium to large cars like Tesla Model 3 or Nissan Leaf, or compact SUVs like Hyundai Kona: £900
  • Large SUVs like Audi e-Tron: £1,500

Smaller cars are cheaper to charge because they have smaller batteries as well. They’re also lighter and more energy-efficient than large electric SUVs, so they require less power to run. Electric cars are much like their conventional counterparts because some models are more frugal compared to others. If you want to save money on charging costs, consider getting a small city car and also look for free charging stations to plug in your EV. And check out the various payment methods when charging your electric car!