Is Charging an Electric Car Free?

If you’re anything like most EV users, you’ll have been attracted to electric cars because of how wonderful it is to be able not to use petrol. Electricity isn’t tangible, it isn’t liquid or solid, so it’s easy to think that it costs nothing compared to petrol. Yes, charging your EV battery is cheaper than  filling your old car’s fuel tank, but it’s not usually free. In this article, we’ll be finding out how much it costs to charge an electric car, and how to get free electricity for electric cars. Let’s dive right in! 😎

Is Charging an Electric Car Free? 

Good question. Yep, you’re not alone wondering that. The biggest selling point of EVs is how cheap they end up being to run. In fact, charging your EV at home costs slightly less than half what it costs to fill up a petrol or diesel tank. Crazy, right? 

Are Electric Car Charging Stations Free? 

You might be thinking "how do you get free electricity for electric cars?", and yes there are some possibilities. For example your employer might off this at your place of work, subject to some restrictions. However, because of how popular electric cars are getting these days, charging your EV while out and about is more expensive than it used to be at first. For example, Tesla models before September 2018 still get unlimited free Supercharger usage. If you’ve bought a Tesla after then, you won’t have access to free charging. 

But when you’re not at home, you sometimes don’t have much choice. If you want to avoid running out of juice at all costs, we totally get you. It sounds like the ultimate nightmare! So you might charge your car at a random public charging station now and then to keep your mind at rest. 

Do be careful though: you’ll find that it can be as expensive as 30p per kWh, which is more than triple what you would pay for electricity at home. In comparison, most home charges are around £4, whereas it might cost you around £15 to charge your EV at a public station. 

Free Electric Car Charger Near Me

We’ve been there too: having to frantically type in “free electric car charging stations near me” on your phone’s browser, staring right at the decreasing battery level on the dashboard. Funnily enough, if you’re in Scotland, you’re in luck. Scotland has the biggest number of free EV charge points in the UK: just look for the ChargePlace Scotland network. You’ll find that some of these charging stations are not free, too, so do look beforehand. 

There are also quite a few free charge points around London and in the Southeast of England in general. If you want to find all the free charging stations around you, just look up your area on Zap Map. You can use a handy filter that will show you charge points according to different factors like: 

  • Power type
  • Connector types
  • Networks
  • Location types
  • Payment
  • and Access

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Where Can I Charge My Electric Car for Free? 

Though there isn’t a specific place where you can charge your EV for free per se, there are a few types of places you’ll likely find free charging points. These include: 

  • Cafes with car parks
  • Restaurants with car parks
  • Pubs with car parks
  • Museums with car parks 
  • Garden centres
  • Theatres
  • Zoos
  • National Trust locations
  • Leisure centres
  • Hotel ZeroNet free charge points
  • Car parks (1,453 free charge points nationwide)
  • Supermarkets (1,335 free charge points nationwide)
Is It Always Completely Free to Use Free Charging Stations? 

Unfortunately, some of the free EV charging stations have restrictions you’ll need to bear in mind. Some chargers might be reserved for customers only, and others might require a RFID card or app to be able to start charging. You might even have to pay parking charges for other free charge points. 

That’s why it’s a really good idea to plan your journeys when it comes to electric car charging. You don’t want to find yourself stuck in the very sticky situation of having no charge points in sight and running out of battery. 

Charging your EV at Home - a Great Solution

Along with planning your journey according to free or cheap charge stations along the way, charging your EV at home may be the key to keeping costs low. Charging your electric car at home will cost you an average of £15 for a completely full charge. A great strategy is to charge your car every night before you go to bed so that you can wake up with a full battery in the morning. 

If you get an electricity tariff that caters to your EV, you’ll find that this is the cheapest possible way of charging your car. You might only have to pay 5p per kWh instead of 28p to charge your electric car (with a non-EV rate). If you’re looking for an EV-tariff deal, we would recommend going with companies such as:

  • Octopus, with Octopus Go and Intelligent Octopus
  • Ovo, with Drive + Anytime
  • ​​EDF with GoElectric 35 

If you want to knock off a few extra pounds on EV charging every month, you could also consider:

  • Getting a smart meter installed at home to monitor your usage and only pay for what you really use
  • Having a home EV charge point installed for much faster and more energy efficient charges
  • Driving slower, which will lead to longer battery life
  • Only charging up to 80% and never the maximum, especially if you have a lithium battery, which will allow kinetic energy to be converted by regenerative braking so that you get free battery charge!
  • Park your car in the shade so that you don’t lose any charge because of the heat
  • Don’t overuse quick charging, it isn’t good for your battery life
  • Never let your battery get lower than the 30% mark
  • Set your charger off at least an hour before you leave in the morning


Yep, there’s lots to learn about being an EV owner. Driving an electric car is great, but it also comes with some crucial do’s and don’ts. The great news though is that we’re here to help! We’re Carmoola, and we know a thing or two about cars. You can browse through our blog to find out more about EVs, and download our app to get car finance in seconds. 🚗🔌