Best home charging tariffs
If you charge your electric car at home, switching your home electricity provider could save you thousands. Here’s everything you need to know...
Charging up at home is usually the most cost-effective way to run an electric car, although how much you’ll save depends on whether you take advantage of home energy discounts available to EV drivers.
You see, not all electricity tariffs are created equal, and choosing the right one can make a big difference to the size of your monthly bill.
What types of tariff are there to choose from?
Single rate tariffs
Conventional plans provide electricity at a fixed rate, given in pence per kilowatt-hour (p/kWh), in addition to a daily standing charge. This offers a good balance for many people, because it means you don’t have to worry about racking up a huge bill by running energy-intensive appliances (such as a dishwasher or washing machine) at peak times.
Dual rate tariffs
By contrast, ‘dual rate’ tariffs, as the name suggests, offer two different prices – a peak rate during the day, and a cheaper off-peak rate overnight – to encourage people to save money by using more electricity when demand is lower.
Therefore, if you’re an EV driver who can plug in overnight, you’ll be able to save money by setting your car to charge during the off-peak period. You can usually do this via the car’s app or infotainment system, or using some home wallbox apps.
The trade-off for off-peak savings is an increase in the peak rate. In fact, the peak price on dual rate policies is allowed to exceed the Ofgem Energy Price Cap (currently 30p/kWh*) based on the size of the off-peak discount.
Dual rate tariffs with EV smart charging
While many EV tariffs are simply dual rate tariffs, some go a step further. Octopus Energy’s Intelligent Octopus and OVO Energy’s Charge Anytime both allow owners to access ‘smart charging’ at a discounted rate throughout the day.
This means that on top of discounted overnight power, your car can be automatically told to charge when electricity production is at its greenest outside the off-peak period, and you’ll still only be charged the lower rate.
One thing to bear in mind, however: in order to be able to take advantage of smart charging, either your car or your home wallbox charger must be compatible with your chosen provider’s smart charging service. It’s worth ensuring that your car or charger are compatible, otherwise you might find you’re able to get a better deal elsewhere.
How much does it cost to charge an electric car at home?
To give you an idea of just how much you could save, here’s an example using the results from our Summer EV range test. In that test, the most efficient model was the Tesla Model 3 RWD. It eked 262 miles of range out of its 57.5kWh battery, equivalent to an efficiency of 4.6 miles/kWh.
Charging that car at home, at a typical rate of 30p/kWh, would mean a £660 spend for 10,000 miles of driving. By contrast, the best-value EV tariff we found (Octopus Energy’s Intelligent Octopus) offers electric car smart charging at a rate of 7.5p/kWh – at this rate, fuelling your Model 3 could cost as little as £165 for every 10,000 miles covered.
What are the best EV tariffs?
To recap, there are four key stats to consider when working out how much you could save by switching to an EV tariff:
Peak rate – the rate you’ll pay to power your home during the day. This will be more expensive for a dual rate than a single rate tariff, so it’s worth checking how much more that will cost you day to day.
Off-peak rate – the discounted rate on a dual rate tariff. This is the rate you’ll pay for electricity between certain hours of the night, although these hours vary from policy to policy. This is also the rate you’ll be charged at for EV smart charging.
Smart charging – additional off-peak rate EV charging offered when the electricity supply is greenest. It can be a useful add-on if you frequently plug in during the day, but you need a compatible car or charger to be able to reap the savings.
Standing charge – a fixed daily fee charged while an electricity tariff is in place. The current Ofgem Energy Price Cap sets the maximum standing charge at 53p per day*.
Maximising your savings means finding a balance between those factors to best suit your lifestyle. Here are some popular EV tariffs, and how they stack up in each category:
|Tariff||Peak rate (p/kWh)*||Off-peak rate (p/kWh)*||Off-peak hours||Smart charging?||Standing charge (p per day)|
|British Gas Electric Driver||30.9||9.4||00:00-05:00||No||42.8|
|EDF Energy GoElectric Overninght||35.9||8.0||00:00-05:00 (01:00-06:00 BST)||No||47.3|
|E.ON Next Next Drive||33.8||9.5**||00:00-07:00**||No||47.2|
|Octopus Energy Intelligent Octopus||31.2||7.5||23:30-05:30||Yes||45.6|
|Octopus Energy Octopus Go||31.2||9.5||00:30-04:30||No||45.6|
|OVO Energy Charge Anytime||30.5||10.0**||Anytime**||Yes||47.1|
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