Charging your electric car at home is one of the cheapest, most convenient ways to keep the batteries topped up. Get home from work, plug it in, then wake up to a fully charged car in the morning.
The problem is, your domestic energy bills will increase. This is understandable, given you’re essentially transferring electricity from your home to the car. But in times of rising energy costs, it may be a concern.
Thankfully, owning an EV needn’t mean your energy bills will skyrocket. Spend a little time shopping around to find the cheapest tariff and you could enjoy reduced running costs on the road, without worrying about the impact on the household budget.
The Energy Saving Trust says you can save £300 a year by switching to a cheap fixed-rate energy tariff of £0.14 per kWh. With an average annual mileage of 7,400 miles, this works out to 5,186 ‘free’ electric miles a year.
As pointed out by Electric Nation, annual electricity consumption varies widely and is influenced by battery size. In a trial, it found that average energy use for an electric car with a smaller battery (up to 25kWh) is about 1,800 to 1,900kWh per year.
For a larger battery (35kWh+), it’s about 3,500kWh. Annual household consumption (without an electric car) ranges from 1,900kWh to 4,600kWh per year, so every car charging at home is equivalent to another house.
According to Electric Nation, 87 percent of charging is done at home, so finding the cheapest tariff is a critical part of electric car ownership. Let’s also remember that it still costs less to run an electric vehicle than a petrol or diesel car – and you’re not exposed to fluctuations in the cost of fuel.
Electric car energy tariffs
The big energy firms offer energy tariffs designed for electric cars, with each powered by 100 percent renewable electricity. Here are some examples of the tariffs available at the time of writing (October 2021):
EDF Energy GoElectric
EDF claims you could save money with its GoElectric electric car tariffs. Power comes from wind, solar and tidal energy, and prices start from 4.5p per kilowatt hour (kWh).
Lease an electric car via EDF and you can get 10,000 miles of free credit, which is the equivalent of £128 in cash.
British Gas Electric Drivers
This British Gas tariff provides cheaper off-peak electricity between 12am and 5am, so it makes sense to charge your electric car overnight. The company offers a fixed off-peak rate, which is locked until July 2023, but the actual price per kWh varies between customers, based on estimated use.
British Gas says electric car owners typically charge their vehicles about three times a week during off-peak hours, and twice a fortnight during peak hours, using 10kWh of electricity at a time.
Eon Fix and Drive
Eon’s electric car tariff provides a fixed rate for 12 months, along with the equivalent of 850 miles of free electricity. A smart meter must be installed.
The OVO Energy EV Everywhere tariff is fixed for 12 months and power is sourced from 100 percent green electricity. The company also plants a tree on your behalf each time you renew.
The Octopus Go tariff offers ‘super-cheap’ electricity at 5p per kWh between 00:30 and 04:30 every night. Alternatively, the Agile Octopus plan adjusts electricity prices every half an hour, with a cap at peak times, to pass on savings in wholesale costs.
Octopus also offers 8,000 free electric miles (a £100 credit) if you lease an EV via its website.
These are just a few examples. You can search online for others, or use the Citizens Advice energy comparison site for other tariffs.
The fact is, you will pay more for your electricity by charging an electric car at home, but the cost will be offset in other ways. For example, OVO found its drivers in diesel vans paid £150 in fuel to drive the same distance as those with electric vans who paid just £30.
Worth remembering every time you pass a filling station…
Can I charge an electric car using a home plug socket?
How long do electric cars take to charge?
How do I get a home charging point installed?
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