Electric cars are growing in popularity. However, many potential electric vehicle (EV) owners ask if you have to pay for charging. If so, how much does it cost to charge an electric car?

This guide will provide information on the costs associated with charging an electric car and offer practical tips on minimising these costs. By following the recommendations outlined in this guide, you can enjoy the convenience and sustainability of electric vehicles without breaking the bank. In fact, it will cost you less per mile to charge an electric car than filling up a petrol or diesel car.

Understanding Electric Car Charging

Different types of electric car charging stations

The two primary types of electric car charging stations that EV drivers can use. Public electric vehicle charging stations and dedicated home car charging points. However, your employer may also offer workplace charging.

How does charging work for electric cars?

The charging process for an electric vehicle is very simple.

When you plug your electric vehicle into a charge point, the EV charger receives electricity from the national power grid. The charger then delivers this electricity directly to your car’s battery, making it as easy as plugging in and charging your mobile phone.

What factors influence charging costs?

The main factors which influence the cost of charging a car are:

Do You Have to Pay to Charge an Electric Car?

You will most likely have to pay to charge an electric car. However, do not worry. Charging an electric car still costs less per mile than refuelling a traditional petrol or diesel car.

Let’s look at the different places you can charge an electric car and how this may influence the cost of charging an electric car.

Public Charging Stations: Costs, Pros and Cons

The UK’s infrastructure and availability of public electric car charging points is ever-growing. Public chargers are commonly found at motorway service stations. However, you can also find them in public car parks, supermarkets and shopping centres.

Public charge points range in charging speeds from fast to rapid chargers, with a power output between 7kWh and 350kWh. The higher the power output of a charger, the quicker the charging speed and, therefore, the less time it will take to charge an electric car.

If you’re planning a long road trip with your electric vehicle, using public chargers is a convenient way to recharge your car quickly.

However, you must be cautious when using public EV charging points, especially rapid chargers, as regular use can harm an EV battery’s health.

The cost of a public charger varies between chargers. Often, public charging is more expensive than charging from home.

Also, the type of payment method varies depending on the public charger and network provider. Public charge points offer various payment options, including credit or debit card payments, contactless payments, payments via the network’s app, and top-up cards.

Home Charging Solutions: Costs, Pros and Cons

A home charging point is a convenient solution for charging your electric car at home. You can charge your electric car while you carry on with your daily routine at home, be it work, sleep, or anything else.

Dedicated home chargers have a power output of 7kW. This is a much higher power output than your standard three-pin plug at home, with a power output of 2.3kW. A dedicated home charge point can charge an electric car three times faster than a domestic three-pin plug.

Furthermore, by installing a home charging point, you can schedule your car charging and save money on your charging costs. If you swap to an EV-friendly energy tariff and schedule your charging, you can take advantage of off-peak charging. Off-peak hours are certain times of the day when energy demand is lower, such as at night time. EV-friendly tariffs offer you a cheaper electricity rate during off-peak times, and therefore, charging your car during off-peak hours can save you money on your charging costs. Getting the right charge point and EV-friendly tariff can save you up to £400 per year on your electricity costs for car charging.

When installing a home charge point, the payment process is easy. The electricity used to charge your car will be added to your regular electricity bill, and you can pay as you usually would for your electricity bill.

Free Charging Opportunities

You may find some free charging stations scattered about. For example, some supermarkets or restaurants provide free EV charging stations.

Furthermore, if you have workplace charging stations, your employer may offer you the opportunity to charge your electric vehicle for free at work.

If you have solar panels at home, you can integrate them with a solar-compatible home EV charger. This way, you can enjoy driving for free using the sun’s power while also reaping the benefits of charging at home.

Comparing Costs: How much do you pay to charge an electric car vs refuelling a petrol car:

On the assumption that an average driver drives approximately 8,000 miles per year. The cost of charging an electric car vs. fuelling a petrol car is as follows:

Cost of recharging an electric car

Let’s look into charging a Nissan Leaf (EV) at home. If you schedule your charging during off-peak periods and use an EV-friendly tariff, with an electricity rate of 9.5p per kilowatt-hour, it will cost you approximately £180 per year to charge a Nissan Leaf.

However, suppose you choose not to swap to an EV-friendly tariff and use a standard variable tariff with an electricity rate of 35.8p per kilowatt-hour. In that case, your car charging costs for an entire year would be approximately £680.

Cost of fuelling a petrol car

Comparing this to refuelling a VW Polo that drives the same mileage, with a price per litre of £1.48, it would cost approximately £1,070 to refuel per year.

*Please note these calculations are correct at the time of publishing and are based on a London postcode)


You will most likely need to pay to cover the cost of charging your electric vehicle unless you use free public charging points or have free workplace charging. However, you can reduce your charging costs by charging your car at home and switching to an EV-friendly electricity tariff. The cost of charging your electric vehicle is typically lower than what you would spend on refuelling a petrol or diesel car. So what’s to lose? Start your home EV charging journey now.

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