electric vehicle charging

Cost of charging electric vehicles rises by 42 per cent in latest figures

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The average price for using the chargers on a pay-as-you-go basis has increased by 18.75p per kilowatt hour (kWh) since May, reaching 63.29p per kWh, according to the RAC.

Electric car owners in the UK have suffered a 42 per cent hike in the cost of using public rapid chargepoints in just four months, according to new figures published by RAC. 

The figures show a driver exclusively using rapid or ultra-rapid public chargers currently pays around 18p per mile for electricity, compared with roughly 19p per mile for petrol and 21p per mile for diesel. This rise – caused by the soaring wholesale costs of gas and electricity – has made it nearly £10 more expensive to rapid-charge a typical family-sized electric car to 80 per cent.

“It remains the case that charging away from home costs less than refuelling a petrol or diesel car, but these figures show that the gap is narrowing as a result of the enormous increases in the cost of electricity," said RAC spokesman Simon Williams. 

“These figures very clearly show that it’s drivers who use public rapid and ultra-rapid chargers the most who are being hit the hardest.”

Most electric car owners predominantly charge at home, which is cheaper. But an AA survey of 12,500 drivers indicated that rising domestic energy prices are putting many people off from switching to an electric car.

According to the survey, 63 per cent of respondents said the increase in home electric bills is contributing to them sticking with petrol or diesel models, while 10 per cent stated it was the “main reason”.

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders also show that demand for new pure electric cars is rising more slowly than last year. According to the organisation, at the end of August, the year-to-date increase had fallen to 49 per cent. This is a sharp contrast with the numbers of earlier this year when the number of registrations between January and March was 102 per cent more than during the same period in 2021

“With domestic energy prices rising, drivers can be forgiven for believing switching to an EV will become expensive quickly," said AA head of roads policy Jack Cousens. “However, the reality is that even with the hike in domestic electricity costs, running an EV is considerably cheaper than a petrol or diesel car.”

With sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the UK due to be banned from 2030, Mr Cousens said the government will need to “keep a watchful eye on how energy prices will impact the transition to electrification”.

Last week, 23 EV chargepoint operators including Ionity, Instavolt and Osprey signed a letter urging the Chancellor to cut VAT on public charging, describing it as a “simple, relatively low-cost intervention” in light of high electricity prices, which “threaten consumers’ willingness” to switch to EVs.

The companies claimed that drivers who cannot charge at home because they do not have off-street parking pay four times more tax for electricity when using public chargepoints. Currently,  VAT on domestic electricity is 5 per cent whereas motorists using on-street chargers pay 20 per cent.

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