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How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Buying an electric car is an ideal choice for those who desire motoring that’s as economical as it is inexpensive. If you live in a bustling city like London, the advantages only grow, with every electric car being exempt from the Congestion Charge.

However, with electric cars being far newer than their diesel- or petrol-powered counterparts, many would-be buyers still have a lot of questions about them. To give you more complete details on the costs of electric motoring, carwow has gathered up some essential information below.

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

Charging your car at home is something that seems rather costly in the short term, but could end up saving you quite a lot of money in the long run. This is because you need to buy your own dedicated charger, which you can use to top up your car while it’s sitting in your garage or driveway. Prices for these chargers – depending on their power output – vary from £500 to up to £1500, excluding installation fees.

There is a silver lining, though: some manufacturers offer a discount on the charger if you buy one at the same time as your new electric car, while the government can offer £500 grants to encourage more eco-friendly driving.

Once you have your charger, things get much cheaper. The cost of topping up your car’s electricity varies based on your supplier, but a good-value tariff means you will pay 12p per kWh (kilowatt/hour). This means that filling up a base-level Nissan Leaf to its maximum, 235-mile range with a 7kWh charger would cost just £6.60. For comparison, driving 235 miles in the average petrol or diesel car would cost £28.20.

Even better, these figures are a worst-case scenario, as most electric car drivers use chargers for quick, shorter top-ups, rather than going from empty to full.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car at a public charging point?

The cost of charging your car in public and the method in which you pay can vary wildly. Most points require you to use a smartphone app, such as Ecotricity, PodPoint or Polar. Some of these apps operate on a “pay as you charge” basis, while others work like an Oyster card, where you need to pre-load money into your account that is then automatically deducted whenever you charge. There are a few points where you don’t need an app, though, and just pay per kWh.

At some places predominantly hotels you can charge your car for free, but most public points will set you back about £1.50. Rapid chargers are more expensive, yet they can provide more power in a shorter time span.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car on the motorway?

Using a charger on the motorway is dearer than in other public places. An Ecotricity charger, for example, costs £3 to plug your car in, followed by 17p per every kWh. These chargers are incredibly fast though, and your car can’t be hooked up to one for more than 45 minutes.

Got more questions about electric cars? Take a look at these frequently asked questions:

How long does it take to charge an electric car?
How far can an electric car go?

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