Vauxhall Mokka Electric

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New data from the RAC has shown that the cost to charge an electric car using a public rapid charger has risen by 42% since May 2022

This increase – equivalent to 18.75p per kWh – has been caused by the rising costs of wholesale gas and electricity across Europe.

It means that drivers who use pay-as-you-go public chargers are now paying an average of 63.29p/kWh (though this will vary across the country). If you drive a typical family-sized electric vehicle with a 64kWh battery, you’ll be paying around £32.41 to charge the car to 80%.

It works out to an increase of around £10 per charge since May, and an increase of £13.58 when you compare prices to this time last year.

The price of the fastest ultra-rapid chargers has also risen by 25% (12.97p), which puts the average cost per kilowatt hour of using these speedy chargers at 62.94 pence. In real-world terms, this means that someone who was paying £26.10 for an 80% charge in May will now pay £32.74.

In comparison to petrol and diesel prices, the cost per mile to charge an electric car using a public rapid charger is still marginally cheaper, working out at 18p per mile. If you drive a petrol car, you’ll currently be paying around 19p per mile, and diesel is working out to around 21p per mile.

Mercedes-Benz EQA charger

The rising cost of charging an EV

Charging your car at home remains to cheapest way to run a car.

Under the UK government’s Energy Price Guarantee, the cost per mile for an average EV is around 9p (10p cheaper than the cost per mile of petrol), and the average cost to charge to 80% is £17.87.

But the disparity between the cost of charging an EV at home and charging with a public rapid charger highlights the ongoing issues with widespread EV adoption. It costs more to run an electric car for people who don’t have a driveway or who rent or for whatever reason they cannot install an at-home charger.

The good news is that rising electricity costs haven’t priced electric vehicles out of the market completely.

They still remain a great way to keep your costs down, and with wholesale energy prices being capped we should start to see some price reductions by charge point operators who have hiked their costs in the last month or so.

Genesis GV60

How to keep EV charging costs down

There are ways to keep your costs down when it comes to charging your electric car.

There are around 5000 free chargers dotted around the UK that you can make the most of. ZapMap is a fantastic resource where you can find your nearest free charger.

Though free chargers do tend to be slower units, they’re still great – especially if you plan to be parked up for a couple hours.

Many Tesco stores now have free chargers in their carparks, which means you can have your cake and eat it with your weekly shop. Quite literally, if you take advantage of the in store coffee shop.

And if you live in Scotland, the government’s ChargePlace Scotland network operates many free EV chargers across the country.

You could also consider joining an EV charging membership.

If you rack up the miles or frequently find yourself needing to use public rapid chargers, it might be worth becoming a member of an electric charging network.

BP Pulse, for example, offers a subscription that gives you access to cheaper charging rates. With a 150kWh rapid charger, you can save 14p/kWh. You’ll need to consider the monthly subscription cost, but it’ll pay for itself after a couple of charges.

DS 4 Crossback E-Tense

You can also adjust the way you drive the car if you want to eke as much out of the battery as you can. Try to avoid unnecessary accelerating and harsh braking, and use the ‘Eco’ drive setting to maximise range.

The regenerative braking will also recover ‘lost’ energy when braking, and adds a little extra charge to the battery.

With the cost of living crisis affecting every area of our lives, including our cars, it's not a surprise to see that electric charging prices have risen. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom if you were thinking about making the switch.

Electric cars are still an eco-friendly option to get from A-B if you need to drive, and (with fewer moving parts and less need for servicing) running costs over the lifetime of the car will still likely work out cheaper than a petrol or diesel vehicle. And with electric car tech improving every year, the upfront cost for a new EV will only decrease over the coming years.

For a vehicle that’s kinder on your wallet and on the environment, it’s still well worth looking into an electric car lease.

Looking for a smarter way to charge?