Electric car charging can be more expensive than petrol and diesel – Express

The cost of using publicly accessible rapid and ultra-rapid chargers – which a driver taking longer trips beyond their electric car’s range depends on – has risen by 50 percent since May. It now costs an average of 70.32p per kilowatt hour to rapid charge on a pay-as-you-go basis, up from 44.55p (58 percent) last May and from 63.29p (11 percent) last September. 

The rises, driven by further increases in the wholesale cost of electricity, mean that drivers now pay £36 to charge a typical family-sized electric car with a 64kWh battery to its 80 percent rapid or ultra-rapid limit – enough to cover around 188 miles.

This is more than twice the cost of charging the same car at home, something most EV drivers can do, with the price of such a charge coming in at just £17.87 – despite the record high domestic energy prices.

The new data, from RAC Charge Watch, also found the price of using the fastest ultra-rapid chargers now stands at 74.79p per kilowatt hour, up from 50.97p in May 2022 and 63.94p in September. 

Drivers relying on these chargers pay £38.29 today for an 80 percent charge, a huge £20.42 more than those fortunate enough to do all their charging at home.

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These costs are higher than the equivalent per-mile rate for a petrol car that achieves an economy of 40 miles to the gallon (17p per mile) and are on par with a diesel car achieving the same economy (20p per mile).

Simon Williams, EV spokesperson for the RAC, said: “For drivers to switch to electric cars en masse, it’s vital that the numbers stack up. In time, the list price of new electric models will come down but charging quickly has also got to be as affordable as possible.

“It continues to be the case that those who can charge at home or at work and who don’t use the public rapid charging network very often get fantastic value – even given the relatively high domestic energy prices right now. 

“Sadly, the same can’t be said for people who either can’t charge at home or at work, or who regularly make longer journeys beyond the range of their cars. 

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“There’s no question they have to pay far more, and in some cases more than petrol or diesel drivers do to fill up on a mile-for-mile basis.

“As last week’s new car registration figures showed, the demand for EVs is clearly there but it’s vital this is sustained. 

“Our concern is that the extremely high energy prices, which are already making people’s domestic energy bills so high, have the effect of putting people off using public EV chargers of all speeds altogether.”

RAC and electric car campaigners FairCharge are calling on the Government to cut the VAT rate at public chargers to make charging of all speeds better value for drivers.

Despite a record number of new electric car registrations last month, both organisations are concerned that the higher costs associated with EVs risks dissuading drivers from opting for them over keeping their existing petrol and diesel vehicles.

This includes the cost of new electric vehicles – with only three under £30,000 – as well as public rapid and ultra-rapid charging costs.

Both are therefore reiterating their call for the Government to cut the VAT rate charged on electricity bought at public EV chargers from 20 percent to five percent, mirroring the rate domestic energy users pay. 

Doing so would see the cost of rapid charging falling by 8.79p per kilowatt hour (to 61.53p) and ultra-rapid charging by 9.35p (to 65.44p).

At the end of December 2022, there were 37,261 electric vehicle charging points across the UK, across 22,049 charging locations. 

This represents a 31 percent increase in the total number of charging devices since December 2021, based on Zap-Map data.


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