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Time to switch to an electric car? What about the running costs?

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
Aug 15, 2017

Electric cars are going mainstream. So, is it time to switch?

Governments around the world, including in the UK, have announced targets and deadlines to see only hybrids and electric vehicles sold in coming years.

In some countries, they are already streets ahead.

In Norway, hybrids and electric cars make up half of all sales.

For governments to achieve the sales they have announced we’re going to have to see some pretty big incentives to make electric even more attractive.

In fact there are already incentives that make it look increasingly like an economic choice.

Apart from doing your bit to cut air pollution, of course.

In recent times costs have come down impressively, despite concerns they cost 50% more to insure

A Nissan Lead, for example, can be leased over three years for a deposit of £1,500 and monthly payments of £243, followed by a balloon payment of £11,225.

If you're looking to save money on your car, switch to a cheaper insurance deal today


What about charging costs?

Here’s where an electric car’s advantage shows up.

According to data from POD point, providers of electric vehicle charging solutions, there will be a difference in cost according to where you choose to charge.


Charging your electric car at home

Charging overnight from empty to full will cost around £3, or 2p per mile.

The average overnight rate is 10p for each kWh and a full charge will give you around about 150-mile range.

Based on a daily mileage of 20 miles, this works out at 40p a day.


Getting on the right energy tariff

If you get into the habit of charging overnight in this way, it may pay you to find a tariff that’s more suitable for this extra use, such as an overnight economy 7, which are commonly used for storage heaters.

Also available now are smart off-peak tariffs.

Smart meters can record exactly how much electricity you use and when. This makes it possible for energy suppliers to offer so-called “time of use tariffs”, which charge you less at different times of the day and night.

You can even put your car on a timed charger that will come on at only off-peak times.

The difference between these smart tariffs and economy 7 is that economy 7 requires a special meter to take two readings and the cheaper tariff is only offered during a set period, usually from midnight until 7am.

Smart tariffs are far more flexible and can offer several cheap tariffs throughout a 24-hour cycle.


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Charging your electric car at work

An increasing number of employers now offer charging in the workplace, some offering it free as a perk for staff.

The cost, if not free, though, will vary.

Some choose to offer free charging for set periods and then levy a fee at others.


Charging an electric car while out and about

Great news here.

May public charging points are free to use. These are appearing at supermarkets and car parks and are increasingly common.

So long as you’re shopping, or paying to use the car park, you can take a free charge.


Rapid charging points

These are often found on motorway service stations and sometimes can be free.

But they can also be a little costly and so can be one of the most expensive ways to charge your car, costing, perhaps as much as £6-plus for 30 minutes.

Those in cities can cost even more. So very much an emergency top up.

Tesla Motors have a Supercharger Network has points around the country that are free if you own a Tesla vehicle.


How long to charge an electric car?

How long it takes to charge your car will depend on the size of the battery and the type of charging point.

It can vary from as little as half an hour right up to 12 hours.

A typical model, though, the Nissan LEAF 30kWh, mentioned above, will take around  four hours to charge from zero with a regular domestic charging point.


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