Is It Cheaper To Charge An Electric Car At Home?

It’s important that when you own an EV, you understand what sort of changes to expect. One is, is it cheaper to charge and electric car at home?

Or would you be better off going to a public charging station each time?

Let’s take a look…

Understanding The Cost Of Electricity

Workplace Charging 3

Customers are billed by electrical companies based on how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) they use. The more units you use, the higher the electricity bill will be, it’s as simple as that.

You can use this equation to work out the cost of electricity:

Total = number of units used × cost per unit

It’s important to remember that the price per unit is decided by the company. It’s also worth remembering that an bill has two vital numbers:

Present Meter Reading
Previous Meter Reading

The difference between these two readings is how many units you have used.

Home Charging Vs Public Charging Cost

In the UK, the price of electric vehicle (EV) charging varies depending on the location and method of charging, but in general, home charging is less than public charging. The average cost of electricity in the UK is around 33 pence per kilowatt-hour according to Ofgem, the UK’s energy regulator.

Home charging is typically the cheapest option, with costs varying depending on the time of day, supplier and tariff. For example, on a standard variable tariff, home charging an electric car would cost around £19 for a full charge of a 60 kWh battery (assuming an average electricity cost of 33p per kWh). However, many suppliers offer special tariffs that can significantly reduce the cost of home charging. For example, British Gas offers a tariff that allows customers to charge their EVs at considerably lower prices during quieter hours.

Public charging can certainly be more costly, with costs ranging from 20-60p per kWh depending on the charging speed and location. For example, a rapid charger at a motorway service station can cost up to 60p per kWh, while a slower charger at a supermarket car park may cost around 20p.

Home charging is generally cheaper than public charging in the UK, with costs varying depending on the supplier and tariff. Public charging can be more expensive, but it can also be more convenient when travelling longer distances.

Problems If You Rely Solely on Public Charging

Relying solely on public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs) can present potential inconveniences for drivers. The availability of charging stations can be limited in some areas, particularly rural areas or places with lower adoption rates. This can result in longer wait times or the need to detour to find a charging station.

In addition, the infrastructure can be unreliable. Charging stations may be out of service due to maintenance or technical issues, leading to unexpected delays. There may also be compatibility issues between different charging standards or networks, which can further limit the availability of stations.

Furthermore, as discussed previously, public charging can be more expensive than home charging. This can add up over time, particularly for drivers who frequently rely on public charging.

To mitigate these potential inconveniences, some owners of electric cars opt for a hybrid approach, combining home charging with the occasional use of public charging for longer trips.

Others may invest in batteries or range extenders to reduce the need for frequent charging stops.

As the EV market continues to grow, improvements in charging infrastructure and technology are expected to further reduce the inconvenience of relying solely on public charging points.

Charging At Home

People choose a home charger for their electric vehicle (EV) because it offers several benefits, including convenience, lower cost, and faster charging compared to a standard 3-pin plug. Home chargers can be installed in a garage or driveway, allowing for easy and quick home charging at any time.

There are two types of home chargers: 7 and 22 kW. The 7 kW charger is the most common and typically takes 6-8 hours to fully charge electric cars with a 60 kWh capacity. The 22 charger is a faster option but requires a three-phase power supply, which may not be available in all homes. The 22 kW charger can fully charge an EV in around 2-4 hours.

A home charging point definitely provides a convenient and faster way to charge an electric vehicle. There are different types of home chargers available, depending on the charging speed and power supply available in the home.

Charging Station At BP Pulse

The cost of charging at BP Pulse depends on the charging speed and the pricing plan chosen by the customer. BP Pulse offers two pricing plans: Pay As You Go and BP Pulse Plus. The plan charges a fixed fee, while the BP Pulse Plus plan offers discounted rates for a monthly fee. The price for Pay As You Go varies from 57p to 69p, depending on the charging speed.

Charging At Gridserve

Gridserve is a UK-based company that operates a network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The charging cost at Gridserve varies depending on the location and the charging speed. Gridserve offers three pricing plans: Pay As You Go, membership, and a free plan. The first plan charges a fixed fee ranging from 49p to 66p depending on the charging speed. The membership plan offers discounted rates for a monthly fee, while the free plan provides access to the charging network at standard rates.

Factors that Affect the Cost of Charging an Electric Car

Electricity rates

  • Different tariffs and energy providers may have different rates and energy prices for charging an electric car.
  • Some tariffs may offer lower rates during less busy hours for those who own electric cars.

Charging time

  • The charging time required for an electric car may depend on the battery size, charging station and charging speed.
  • Fast charging stations may be more but require less time to charge.

Battery capacity

  • The size of electric car batteries can affect the cost of charging.
  • A larger one may require more kWh to fully charge, leading to higher prices

Efficiency of the charging system

  • Depending on how well the charging station can charge electric cars will also affect the average price.
  • Slow and rapid chargers play a major part but also have a cost disparity.

Time Of Use Tariffs

Time of Use tariffs are designed to encourage customers to use a home charging station during quiet hours when demand is lower. These tariffs can be advantageous for electric vehicle (EV) owners who primarily charge their cars at home, as they can save money on electricity costs.

With ToU tariffs, the price varies depending on the time of day. Typically, energy costs are cheaper such as overnight, and more expensive during peak hours. By charging their EVs during off-peak hours, owners can take advantage of lower rates and reduce the cost of charging.

Tou tariffs can be a good option for owners who have a flexible charging schedule and can do home charging at night. However, it is important to consider the cost of the tariff and ensure that the savings from the lower rates offset any additional costs associated with the tariff.

Can I Charge My EV for Free?

It is possible to charge an electric vehicle (EV) for free if the charging is powered by solar panels. Solar panels can be used to generate energy from the sun, which can then be used to power an EV charger. This approach is environmentally friendly and can save money on costs.

There are some free public charging stations in the UK. However, these are relatively rare and are often located in areas where access to charging infrastructure is limited, such as rural areas or car parks.

There are several initiatives and programs that aim to increase the availability of free charging stations, including those operated by local councils or private companies.

For example, some supermarkets, shopping centres, and leisure venues offer free charging to their customers to encourage them to visit and stay longer.

It’s important to note that even if a charging station is free, owners may be charged for parking or other associated fees.

Last Word

We hope you found this article useful, and as you can see, home chargers are a cheaper option to charge an EV than public charging due to lower rates, the ability to take advantage of time of use tariffs, and the convenience of charging at home. This can result in significant savings over time, especially for those who regularly charge their EV at home.

Find other fantastic guides on living with a green car and what else you can do to save money.

Picture of Nick

Nick is the proud owner of a MG ZS EV and is an EV fanatic. He has been featured in notable publications like USA Today and The Times for his expertise in the field.