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Charging electric vehicles can cost as much as diesel

New figures from the RAC show the cost of charging an electric vehicle at a fast-charging station could cost as much as a diesel vehicle.

The motoring organisation, through its Charge Watch programme, suggest that prices at 150kWh locations has increased by 42% since May, reaching an average of 63.29p per kilowatt hour.

The increase – caused by the soaring costs of wholesale gas and electricity – means that it now costs drivers on average £32.41 to rapid charge a typical family-sized electric car with a 64kWh battery to 80%, which is up £9.60 since May and £13.59 compared to a year ago.

Drivers charging electric vehicles, using the fastest, so-called ‘ultra-rapid’ chargers, that have a power output of more than 100kW, have seen average charging costs increase by a quarter, or 12.97p, since May with the current average price of charging sitting a little over the ‘rapid’ cost at 63.94p per kilowatt hour. This puts the cost of an 80% charge at £32.74, up from £26.10 in May (a 25% increase) and from £17.51 in September 2021 ( an87% increase).

As a 64kWh battery can provide around 250 miles of range on average, an 80% charge means 200 miles, depending on driving style.

Electric vs diesel prices

Drivers of diesel vehicles have also seen refuelling prices rise this year, up by around 45p on average to around £1.809 a litre. 

However, with an average of around 50mpg for a diesel car, it would cost drivers approximately £32.85 to travel 200 miles, just 44p more than by using an electric vehicle. Should the average price of diesel go down, the balance could change in diesel’s favour.

For petrol, taking an average of 32mpg, it would cost drivers around £44 to travel 200 miles at an average fuel price of £1.579 per litre.

Charging electric vehicles at home

While many will undoubtably charge their EVs at home, at a cheaper rate on domestic tariffs, those unable to do so, with no off-street parking or living in flats and apartments, will rely on the public-charging network. With no benefit in the cost of recharging vs. refuelling, many may question why they should switch to the technology now.

The RAC highlights that under the Energy Price Guarantee that takes effect next weekend, the cost per mile for an average-sized EV driven reasonably efficiently is around 9p and those drivers charging electric vehicles to 80% at home will be £17.87. But the huge price gap between home and public charging shows the extent to which drivers who depend on the charging network, including those who don’t have driveways and can’t charge at home, pay a premium to run electric cars.

“For those that have already made the switch to an electric car or are thinking of doing so, 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 EV spokesperson 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.

“The Energy Price Guarantee benefits those drivers who are fortunate enough to charge their cars at home, but for those that rely on the public charging network – including those without driveways – it’s a much bleaker picture right now.

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