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Cost to rapidly charge electric car soars 20% in eight months

·Business Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·3-min read
A Tesla electric vehicle being charged, as rapid charging an electric car has become a fifth more expensive
Despite the rise, charging electric cars still remained 'excellent value' and a cheaper alternative to petrol and diesel, the RAC said. Photo: PA

The cost of rapidly charging an electric car has risen by a fifth in just eight months due to soaring energy prices, new data has shown.

According to the RAC, the average price of using a public rapid charger in the UK increased from 36.7p per kilowatt hour (kWh) in September 2021 to 44.6p per kWh this month.

This has added £4 to the typical cost of completing an 80% rapid charge of a family-sized electric vehicle (EV) with a 64kWh battery.

The increase was driven by a 65% spike in the wholesale cost of electricity, which in turn was pushed up by surging gas prices, exacerbated by the Ukraine war.

However, charging EVs still remained “excellent value” and a cheaper alternative to petrol and diesel, the RAC said.

Read more: Rishi Sunak unveils £15bn aid to help UK households struggling with rising energy bills

It currently costs around 10p per mile to use a rapid charger, up from 8p last September.

Over the same period the per mile cost of filling a petrol car has soared from 15p to 19p, with the price for diesel models rising from 16p to 21p, the analysis revealed. Just this month diesel prices rose to a record high of more than £1.80 a litre.

“Just as the price that drivers of petrol and diesel cars pay to fill up at the pumps is driven by fluctuations in the world oil price, those in electric cars are affected by gas and electricity prices, RAC spokesman Simon Williams said.

“But while electric car drivers may not be immune from the rocketing price of wholesale energy — most notably gas, which in turn dictates the cost of electricity — there’s no doubt that charging an EV still represents excellent value for money compared to filling up a petrol or diesel car.”

Williams added that it was “totally unfair” that EV drivers who cannot charge at home because they do not have off-street parking pay four times more tax for electricity when using public chargepoints.

Read more: Property: Urban appeal of city centre homes

VAT on domestic electricity is 5% but motorists using on-street chargers pay 20%.

“Given the cost of living crisis, it’s surely only fair that everyone pays the same level of VAT no matter where they buy their electricity from,” he said.

Although the cost of charging at home has gotten more expensive, demand for electric cars has soared in recent months.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has forecast that plug-in cars such as pure electrics and plug-in hybrids will account for more than a quarter of the new car market by the end of the year.

Quentin Willson, founder of the FairCharge campaign, and former Top Gear presenter, said: “Keeping a watch on charging prices is essential to make sure the electricity for charging up EVs never gets close to the cost of filling up with diesel.

“EV drivers need free-to-access data on charging prices across the country. And charging operators need to know that everybody is watching.”

Watch: Why are gas prices rising?

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