electric vehicle charging

Public slow chargers cost EV drivers the most to top up

Image credit: Dreamstime

Drivers who use slow chargers to top up their electric vehicles are on average paying more for their energy than if they used a fast charger, research from AA has shown.

Slow charging is usually found in on-street locations such as lampposts, whereas fast chargers can be found in car parks where people intend to stay for several hours.

Fast chargers also represent the most common type of chargepoint in the public network, outnumbering rapid and ultra-rapid devices by more than three to one.

In the AA’s monthly AA EV Recharge Report, it found that domestic charging is the cheapest possible option for EV owners, even with the high prices currently faced by consumers on the government's capped levels. Domestic charging was found to be half the price of ultra-rapid options.

The report takes the average prices of more than 6,000 publicly available charging units across the UK and analyses the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) pricing across all chargepoint speeds available on the public charging network, as well as domestic charging costs.

Slow-charging providers often offer a subscription service that unlocks rates lower than the average fast-charging price.

The AA said that for those who do not have any form of personal dedicated off-street charging, running a diesel vehicle is cheaper at around 13.25 pence per mile.

In contrast, in all but ultra-rapid chargers, petrol is more expensive on a pence per mile basis (14.62 p/mile), but for EV drivers, using a combination of domestic charging and ultra-rapid top-ups is cheaper than running a petrol or diesel car.

Commenting on the findings of the first report, Jack Cousens, the AA’s recharging spokesman, said: “Surprisingly, fast chargers are on average cheaper than slow charging, but subscription offers for on-street lampposts can be found with deals around 29 p/kWh.

“Most people will opt for pay as you go rates when away from home, especially if they top their EV up at rapid and ultra-rapid chargers. While the cost of recharging will always be cheaper than refuelling, EVs can lose out to diesel cars when looking at the pence per mile cost.

“However, those with a home charger reap the rewards of the cheapest rates possible. Many can also enjoy discounted rates if their energy provider offers an off-peak tariff for overnight charging.”

Figures released today show that the UK’s new car market has recorded a fourth successive month of growth after being battered due to the pandemic. Plug-in cars such as pure electrics and plug-in hybrids accounted for more than a quarter of the market.

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles