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What’s the Cost of Charging an Electric Car?

The drive away from fossil fuels has changed the motoring industry considerably. Consumer desire, coupled with government pressure, and the environmental threat, have led many large car manufacturers to develop their own models. 

Electric cars come with the promise of massive savings in terms of the environmental cost of driving. However, what impact will these vehicles have on the average driver’s pocket? Read on to discover the cost of charging an electric car battery.

The good news for aspiring electric car drivers is that the running costs are much cheaper than petrol or diesel motors. Here is a breakdown of what costs to expect to charge your electric car battery at home or a public charging point.

Charging Your Electric Car Battery at Home

Charging your car at home is likely to be the most cost-effective method, and the actual cost will depend on the size of the battery in your electric car, and the price you pay for your domestic electricity.

Different makes and models of electric cars come with different sized batteries. There is a simple calculation you can make to work out the cost of charging your electric car battery from empty to full capacity. Multiply your car’s battery size by the cost of your electricity, which is given in pence per kilo-watt-per-hour (kWh). 

If you have a 40 kWh car battery, such as in a Nissan Leaf, and your electricity supplier charges you 15 pence per kWh, the cost of charging your electric car battery is £6.00. Yes, this is considerably lower than topping up a tank of fuel in a diesel or petrol motor.

Mid-sized electric cars have batteries that are a bit bigger at around 64 kWh, and the cost of charging these would increase to approximately £9.60. For larger models of electric cars, like Tesla’s Model S, the battery size can be up to 100 kWh. With these vehicles, you should expect a charging cost of around £15.00.

If you want to make calculating your electric car battery charging costs even more convenient, there are websites such as Zap-Map that provide online calculators to do this.

Points To Consider When Charging Your Electric Car Battery

If you are charging your electric car at home, there are several points you need to consider:

  • Check the cost of your electricity supplier. Some suppliers offer reduced tariffs at night, which will reduce your charging costs if you charge overnight.
  • Consider installing a dedicated home electric car battery charging point. OLEV, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, has grants of up to £350 for purchasing and installing these charging points.
  • Check whether there are any load restrictions with your home’s electricity supply. If your home cannot cope with an additional 7 kWh load, you will have to charge your electric car battery at a lower rate. This lower rate of charge will increase the cost slightly.

Charging Your Electric Car Battery in Public

There will, of course, be occasions when you need to charge your electric car in public, and you need to consider the cost of this too. 

Many places offer free charging for electric cars. Supermarkets use free charging as an incentive for you to use their stores. There are also charging facilities in some pay-and-display car parks, so you can charge your electric car battery for the price of parking your car.

You can download applications that will help you locate public charging points. There is a cost for using these points, and you will have to provide your own charging lead. To use some of the older public charging points, you will need an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) card. 

However, the government has an aspiration for all new charging points to be accessible with only a credit or debit card. This easier access would reduce or remove the need to be part of a membership scheme. The prices to charge your electric car battery varies depending on the host you use. 

Motorway service stations are another place where you can charge your electric car battery. The types of chargers found at these locations are rapid-charge points. These points will give your battery a charge that is good for around 100 miles, and it will only take 30 minutes. For this speed of charge, the cost is slightly higher, of course. With one supplier, Pod Point, the price to charge your battery is 23 pence per kWh, equating to around £6-7 for thirty minutes. 

The cost of rapid chargers makes these an expensive way to charge your electric car battery. Also, the range is limited to around 100km, so it might be best to only use these when you have no other option.


The cost of charging your electric car battery will vary depending on the size of your battery, your electricity supply, and whether you charge at home or in public. Whichever method you choose, charging your electric car battery from flat to full capacity is much cheaper than filling up a petrol or diesel vehicle.

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