How much does it cost to charge an electric car

We compare the cost of charging up an electric vehicle at many of the different public charging points around the UK...

True cost of going electric

If you’re lucky enough to be able to charge up your EV for free at work, or cheaply at home, you’ll be quids in when it comes to replenishing your car’s batteries.

However, it’s estimated that around a third of the UK’s 27 million households don’t have off-street parking, so many electric car owners will need to use public charging points. A decade ago it was possible to charge up for free, or for very little, at a number of sites around the UK, often with free parking thrown in as an added incentive.

But that situation has changed now that a growing number of big businesses have got into the charging game. Although there are still many places where you can recharge an EV for little or nothing, they are generally the oldest and slowest machines, which will take more than 17 hours to restore the battery of a large electric SUU, such as the BMW iX3. If you want to replenish your car’s battery in an hour or less you’re likely to have to pay a significant price to do so. 

Jeep Avenger charging

How much does it cost to fully charge an electric car at home?

The cost of charging an EV will depend on the size of its useable battery; the larger the battery, the longer, and pricier it will be to charge. EV battery packs vary in size far more than petrol and diesel car fuel tanks, so the differences can be far greater. 

To replenish a Fiat 500 with a useable battery capacity of 21kWh, using a home charger, at the UK’s average electricity rate of 30 pence per kilowatt hour (kWh), costs £9, but a Mercedes EQS with a useable battery capacity of 108kWh will cost £45. However, the most popular EVs will be medium-sized hatchbacks or SUVs, like the Volkswagen ID 3, which is far more reasonable to recharge at £17. 

You should also note that these figures are for charging a battery from completely flat to completely full, which is unlikely in the real world. So charging from, say, 20% to full will be cheaper.

Is it cheaper to run an electric car than a petrol model?

Recent rises in the cost of electricity have seriously increased the cost of running an electric car, but in some cases it is still cheaper or the same as fuelling a conventionally-engined model. If you take the BMW X3 and iX3 as examples, the electric iX3 costs 14p per mile to run if you’re charging at home, while the petrol X3 costs 16p per mile and the diesel X3 12p.  

Cupra Born charging at a Gridserve point

Where’s the cheapest place to charge an electric car? 

For the majority of EV drivers, it’s far cheaper to charge at home. The costs to use the UK’s charge point networks vary enormously – but by how much?

To answer this question, we compared the cost of 58 different public charging options offered by 23 different companies. We chose the iX3 for this price comparison because, as an electric SUV, it’s bang on trend. It can be charged at a rate of up to 150kW (faster than many other EVs) so it can benefit from using many of the most powerful public rapid chargers available. 

We chose only to calculate the cost of charging the car from 10% to 80% as letting an EV’s batteries drop below 10% isn’t recommended, and it’s good practice to only charge to 80% to prolong battery life.  

What are the cheapest and priciest ultra-rapid charging option? 

When we did our research, the most expensive charging companies were BP Pulse and Shell Recharge. The top rate for each of these two providers is 85p per kWh meaning a 10% to 80% charge for a BMW iX3 costs £44.03. Both of these costs are for a pay-as-you-go charge at an ultra-rapid (100kW-plus) charger with quick and easy payment methods and no need to use an app. 

BP Pulse subscribers pay almost as much as this – £43.59 for their first charge at this speed because it includes a monthly fee of £7.85. However, subsequent charges within the month will cost £35.74, so you’ll save money if you’re a frequent user. 

If you’re after a cheaper ultra-rapid charge you may want to seek out Fastned, Geniepoint or MFG units, which cost 69p per kWh and will result in a cost of £35.74. The MFG cost is only for overnight charging, though, it rises to 79p during the day. 

The cheapest ultra-rapid EV charging comes from Alfa Power, at 56p per kWh, and E-on at 63p, meaning charging the iX3 costs £29.01 or £32.63 respectively. However, neither of these networks have many of the fastest chargers. 

Drivers in Northern Ireland used to be able to get free access to public charge points, and although fees have now been introduced by ESB, it’s still one of the cheapest options at 58p per kWh. Tesla owners can also save money by making use of its off-peak tariff of 67p per kWh. 

The most costly 50kW chargers are operated by Geniepoint and Swarco e-Connect. Both of these cost 79p per kWh and will result in a bill of £40.92 for charging the iX3. However, if you can charge overnight on a Gridserve device, you’ll pay less per kWh and save just over £3. 

Pod Point is the cheapest network with good national coverage; it charges 62p per kWh at Tesco stores and 65p at Lidl supermarkets; using these chargers takes the cost down to £32.12 and 33.62. And joining Fastned’s Gold scheme could help you get a faster charge for less because those who sign up benefit from a 46p per kWh fee. This means the first charge costs £33.82 and subsequent ones £23.83. 

The cost of using rapid and ultra-rapid public EV chargers

Network and service name Monthly fee Cost per kWh Total cost
BP Pulse contactless PAYG 150kW £0.00 £0.85 £44.03
Shell Recharge 50kW-175kW+ £0.00 £0.85 £44.03
BP Pulse subscription 150kW £7.85 £0.69 £43.59
BP Pulse free membership 150kW £0.00 £0.83 £42.99
BP Pulse Contactless PAYG 43/50kW  £0.00 £0.79 £40.92
Geniepoint peak (8am to 19.59) 50kW £0.00 £0.79 £40.92
MFG EV Power 50-150kW peak (7am-midnight) £0.00 £0.79 £40.92
Osprey up to 175kW £0.00 £0.79 £40.92
Swarco E-Connect 50kW £0.00 £0.79 £40.92
BP Pulse subscription 43/50kW  £7.85 £0.63 £40.48
Mer PAYG up to 43/50kW £0.00 £0.78 £40.40
ESB One Time Payment 100kW+ £0.00 £0.77 £40.39
Ionity Passport up to 350kW £10.99 £0.56 £40.00
BP Pulse free membership 4350kW £0.00 £0.77 £39.89
Tesla public 120-250kW £0.00 £0.77 £39.89
Mer member up to 43/50kW £0.00 £0.76 £39.37
Tesla owner 120-250kW off-peak (10pm-6am) £10.99 £0.54 £38.96
Geniepoint off-peak (8.00pm to 7.59am) 50kW £0.00 £0.75 £38.85
Instavolt - 50k-150kW £0.00 £0.75 £38.85
Ionity up to 350kW £0.00 £0.74 £38.33
ESB One Time Payment 43/50kW £0.00 £0.73 £37.81
ESB NI member 100kW+ £4.99 £0.63 £37.62
Charge Place Scotland (Glasgow) 50-150kW £0.00 £0.70 £36.26
Fastned 43/50-300kW £0.00 £0.69 £35.74
Gridserve 43/50kW-350kW £0.00 £0.69 £35.74
MFG EV Power 50-150kW off-peak (midnight -7am) £0.00 £0.69 £35.74
Pod Point Tesco 75kW £0.00 £0.69 £35.74
Revive 50kW £0.00 £0.69 £35.74
ESB NI PAYG 100kW up £0.00 £0.67 £34.71
Tesla owner 120-250kW peak £0.00 £0.67 £34.71
Fastned Gold member 43/50-300kW £9.99 £0.46 £33.82
Pod Point Lidl 50kW £0.00 £0.65 £33.67
ESB NI member 43-50kW £4.99 £0.54 £32.96
E-on 100-150kw £0.00 £0.63 £32.63
Pod Point Tesco 50W £0.00 £0.62 £32.12
ESB NI PAYG 43/50kW £0.00 £0.58 £30.04
Alfa Power 22-100kW £0.00 £0.56 £29.01

Skoda Enyaq Coupe charging at Angel of North

What’s the cheapest and most expensive slow EV charging cost? 

You can save a significant amount of money by taking advantage of the off-peak tariffs offered by some network operators.’s network of lamp-post and bollard chargers are cheapest with a rate of 39p per kWh between midnight and 7am; using these more than halves the iX3 charging cost to £20.20. The network is pricey to use outside these hours, though. 

The next best option is Charge Place Scotland, which as the name implies has a network across Scotland. Its rates vary, but its 40p per kWh rate for users in Glasgow is great value, working out at £20.72. For EV owners elsewhere in the UK, E-on and Pod Point are good options, with rates of 45p and 44p respectively.

At the other end of the spectrum, Shell Recharge’s slower chargers and those operated by Source London on a pay-as-you-go basis are the most costly at 65p per kWh. At £33.67 they’re actually more expensive than some of the faster charging options. 

Source London customers can save money by opting for a resident tariff, though. This includes a rate of 46p per kWh and a £4.00 monthly fee, meaning the first charge will cost £27.83 and subsequent ones £23.83.  

The cost of using slower public EV chargers

Network and service name Monthly fee Cost per kWh Total cost
Shell Recharge 7-22kW £0.00 £0.65 £33.67
Source London PAYG up to 22kW £0.00 £0.65 £33.67
ESB One Time Payment 7-22kW £0.00 £0.63 £32.63
Source London Full up to 22kW £4.00 £0.55 £32.49
Believ membership 7-22kW £5.00 £0.53 £32.45 PAYG day time (7am to midnight) 7-22kW £0.00 £0.60 £31.08
BP Pulse subscription 7kW £7.85 £0.44 £30.64
BP Pulse free membership 7kW £0.00 £0.59 £30.56
Believ PAYG 7-22kW £0.00 £0.56 £29.01
Mer PAYG up to 22kW £0.00 £0.56 £29.01
ESB NI member 7-22kW £4.99 £0.46 £28.82
Mer member up to 22kW £0.00 £0.55 £28.49
Revive 7-22kW £0.00 £0.55 £28.49
Source London Resident up to 22kW £4.00 £0.46 £27.83
Connected Kerb 7-22kW £0.00 £0.50 £25.90
ESB NI PAYG 7-22kW £0.00 £0.49 £25.38
Gridserve Electric Highway 22kW £0.00 £0.49 £25.38
Pod Point Tesco 22kW £0.00 £0.49 £25.38
E-on 22kW £0.00 £0.45 £23.31
Pod Point (Tesco) 7kW £0.00 £0.44 £22.79
Charge Place Scotland (Glasgow) 7-22kW £0.00 £0.40 £20.72 night time (12am to 7am)7-22kW £0.00 £0.39 £20.20
E-on 11kw £0.00 £0.25 £12.95

Read more: How to use the public EV charging network >>

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