Motorists without a driveway are paying over £1,000 more a year to charge their electric cars

Elle Kiai

22 Apr 2023

Today is Earth Day. A day for people, countries, organisations and governments to come together to advance our sustainability efforts and action on climate change. Emissions from transport no doubt play a huge part in this, which is why electric cars form a key part of this global movement.

Here in the UK, we’re certainly heading in the right direction when it comes to the switch, but research from the team this week has found that more could be done to help consumers into zero-emission vehicles, particularly when it comes to the cost of charging.

Our research has found that charging an electric car is costing drivers without access to off-street charging £88 per month - or £1,056 per year - more than those with a driveway. This is an increase of 10% compared to last year, when the cost difference was just under £80 per month.

As one third of drivers don’t have access to off-street parking, and with the 2030 petrol and diesel ban looming closer, it’s clear that action needs to be taken so that price parity is reached between public and private charging. 

Despite sky-high energy costs, drivers with access to home charging who use a cheap night tariff are still saving thousands over the lifetime of their cars compared to those who rely on the public network. This is in part due to the higher VAT rate of 20% on public charge points, as well as the cost of installing and maintaining the infrastructure.

The research figures are based on a person driving a Volkswagen ID.3 for 10k miles per year, which would cost £15/month when charging at home on a cheap night rate, compared to £103 per month on a public charge point at 70p per kWh, which is the typical rate for a DC rapid charger found at a service station or supermarket. 

This stark difference in cost is dividing the nation when it comes to electric car ownership, favouring homeowners with a driveway who typically live in more affluent, suburban areas and discriminating against those on lower incomes without access to off-street parking.

It also makes electric car ownership less attractive to drivers living in cities - the very place zero emission vehicles can make the biggest difference to air quality and where the climate crisis needs to be averted the most.

Founder and CEO of Ginny Buckley said:

“As a country, we need to do better when it comes to the levelling up of electric car ownership. Car buyers are embracing the electric revolution, with battery electric vehicles now boasting 16.2% of the market share.

“But electric car ownership should not be a privilege for the more affluent, we need to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place - and at the right price - so that we can bring everyone along on the electric journey.

“We’ve seen promises to support drivers by providing ten times as many public chargers by 2030 across the UK, but actions speak louder than words; it's unfair that those without pay more to run their car. Without taking steps now, we risk leaving people behind, which is why I'm calling on the Government on Earth Day to reduce VAT on public charging to 5%, bringing it into line with home charging, and asking all charge point operators to introduce more affordable off-peak rates.”

We need to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place - and at the right price - so that we can bring everyone along on the electric journey.

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