Cost to charge falls 8% but peak hours hit pockets of electric drivers

New data published by the AA suggests that the price of charging an electric car has fallen by as much as 8% since December, but that drivers need to be more aware of an increasing variance between peak and off-peak rates even at low power chargers. 

The AA says that the typical cost of slow charging a car publicly, at an older 7kW charging point or a lamppost charger, is now more or less on par with the rate you’ll pay to charge a car domestically via an installed 7kW wallbox - though only during off-peak hours. 

A January average flat rate of 34p per kWh for both domestic and slow charging options means that the average price to charge a small family electric car (in the AA’s example, a Vauxhall Corsa Electric with a 50kWh battery) to 80% stands at a around £13.60. But the AA was points out that drivers need to be more aware than ever of the costs of charging at peak hours, given that more charging providers are beginning to introduce peak and off-peak rates. 

Using a slow charger at peak times could cost more than double the price of charging off-peak, with a January average of 72p per kWh slingshotting the price of charging that same Corsa Electric to an average of £28.80.

That’s a figure that eclipses the cost of rapid and ultra-rapid charging at off-peak times. Electricity from rapid points (defined as chargers ranging from 23-100kW in power) averaged a cost of 57p per kWh off-peak, while ultra-rapid chargers capable of charging at a rate of 101kW average 60p per kWh. 

In fact, even at peak times there’s little difference between slow charging and rapid charging in terms of price - rapid options on average only 3p per kWh more expensive. As a price-per-mile equation, driving an electric car will still work out cheaper than running an equivalent petrol one, provided you don’t exclusively use rapid chargers. The AA recommends that all drivers should check the price per kWh of any charging station before plugging in, where this is possible. 

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy & EV charging at the AA, said; “The slight fall in electricity prices has been reflected in the flat rate prices EV drivers pay. The speed in which the prices fell is encouraging and hopefully means the ‘rocket and feather’ approach to wholesale costs experienced in petrol prices won’t be adopted by charge point operators. 

“However, we believe OFGEM needs to keep a watchful eye on peak rate costs to ensure they don’t escalate to the point where it puts drivers off using them. Whilst we understand the reasons why peak rates exist, the price needs to be reasonable in relation to the speed of charge.”

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