- What Car?reveals hidden costs of electric vehicles (EVs) as public charging costs rise
- Public points may cost motorists more than double at-home charging
- Concerns over battery lifespan and replacement costs keeping residual values low
- Thousands more EVs expected on UK roads after 33% increase in 2017
- Discounts as high as 22%* off of new EVs can be found on What Car? New Car Buying
Charging a plug-in electric vehicle (EV) may cost more than many motorists might think, according to consumer car-buying expert, What Car?.
According to What Car?, the growing cost of public charging points, lack of off-street parking for charging and low residual values should give pause to the thousands of motorists expected to purchase an electric vehicle this year.
Plug-in electric vehicles have enjoyed a staggering rise in popularity over recent years – growing 33% in 2017 alone – thanks to their reputation as an affordable long-term option for savvy motorists.
On What Car? New Car Buying, there are some great deals available on new electric cars, with discounts as high as 22%.*
But the impressive growth in sales has come at the cost of affordable public charging, with many public charging points no longer providing free electricity and some charging as much as an eye-watering 30p per kilowatt-hour (kWh), as well as requiring regular registration and admin fees.
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When the What Car? editorial team took its Renault Zoe ZE40 out on the roads, it found that the cost to charge the car to 80% could vary quite significantly, from £17.46 for a Source London Flexi – fast (7.4 kW) charging station to £7.70 for a Polar Instant – fast (7.2 kW) charger. Costs also vary depending on location, whether or not there is a registration fee, and if the cost is charged by monthly subscription, by the hour or by kWh unit cost.
What Car? examples of the most expensive charging costs from electricity suppliers**:
|Network and service name||Total cost including connection fee and monthly subscription***|
|Source London Flexi – fast (7.4kW)||£17.46|
|Source London Full – fast (7.4kW)||£15.64|
|Polar Instant – slow (3kW)||£13.68|
|Source London Full – fast (22kW)||£12.93|
|Charge Your Car – rapid (50kW)****||£11.23|
|Geniepoint London – rapid (43kW)||£11.16|
|Source London Flexi – fast (22kW)||£10.98|
|Instavolt – rapid (50kW)||£10.92|
|Polar Plus – slow, fast and rapid (50kW)||£10.66|
|Geniepoint UK – rapid (43kW)||£10.36|
Costing just 14p/kWh, at-home charging has become the most affordable option for EV drivers. However, the scarcity of off-street parking in many urban centres – 46% of inner London houses are without off-street parking – means motorists could pay a high price for green driving.
The research by What Car? also revealed that some public charging stations were failing to charge at the advertised rate, with a supposed ‘Rapid’ 43kW charge providing around half of that.
Combined with low residual values thanks to concerns over the life and replacement costs of their batteries, What Car? has been warning consumers to do plenty of research into how they can charge before investing in a plug-in electric.
Steve Huntingford, Editor at What Car? commented: “Plug-in electrics are still relatively new to consumers and so they might not be as clued up as they would be with a petrol or diesel equivalent.
“Plug-ins should remain an extremely worthwhile and affordable investment for many, but it’s essential that prospective owners are doing their research and making sure they’ve got the right car for their needs and lifestyle.”