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Public electric car chargers rise 42% in price since May

Written by: Rebecca Goodman
Rising energy prices have sent the cost of using public electric car charging points up 42% in the past four months and 58% in a year, according to the RAC.

The war in Ukraine is being blamed for the recent hike to energy prices which has seen around £10 added to the cost of charging a family-sized electric car.

There are now fears the rising cost could deter people from buying electric cars, the RAC has said.

The cost for using a ‘rapid’ public charging point is now coming close to the price of filling up a car with petrol.

The price has risen to 18.75p per kilowatt hour since May for using a rapid pay-as-you-go charger.

It now costs an average of £32.41 to charge a family-sized car with a 64kWh battery to 80%. This is an increase of £9.60 since May and a rise of £13.59 compared to a year ago — or 58%.

If people are able to charge their cars at home, the price is cheaper. Yet rising energy bills mean this is still going to cost more now than earlier in the year.

The Energy Price Guarantee, which comes into effect next weekend, will help with rising bills. It caps the price charged for energy at £2,500. It means it will cost an average of 9p per mile to use an average-sized electric vehicle.

Drivers pay a premium for public chargers

There is a big difference in the cost of charging an electric car at home or with a public charging point.

Drivers using public chargers also pay 20% in VAT for the electricity compared to 5% for those who can charge their cars at home.

‘Ultra-rapid’ chargers, which have a higher power output of more than 100kW, will also cost more.

The cost of using these chargers has risen by 25% since May, or £12.97. The average cost of using these faster chargers is 63.94 per kilowatt hour.

Charging a car battery to 80% with the fastest chargers now costs an average of £32.74, up from £26.10 in May and from £17.51 in September 2021, an 87% annual increase.

Drivers who only use these rapid and ultra-rapid chargers will be paying an average of 18p a mile for electricity, a rise from 13p in May. This compares to 19p per mile for a petrol car and 21p per mile for a diesel car.

The RAC is backing a campaign from FairCharge for both rates to be set at 5%, a move that would reduce the cost of an 80% rapid charge by 7.91p to 55.38p per kWh, and an ultra-rapid charge by 7.99p to 55.95p per kWh.

Quentin Willson, founder of the FairCharge campaign, said: “With electricity costs up by an average of 140% on last year and the Government’s divisive VAT levy of 20% on public charging, EV adoption is under threat.

“This government needs to act on charging costs, cap rises on public chargers, lower VAT and support charge point operators to build infrastructure. If they don’t, all those years of promises of a zero-emission future, clean air and energy independence will have come to nothing.”

Rising costs may deter new customers

Historically one of the major benefits to having an electric car is that it is cheaper to run than a traditional petrol or diesel car.

The upfront costs are still high — significantly higher than a non-electric car — but the everyday costs tend to be lower.

However, the RAC has said it’s concerned that the recent increase will put off drivers from opting for electric vehicles.

Simon Williams, RAC EV spokesperson, said: “These figures very clearly show that it’s drivers who use public rapid and ultra-rapid chargers the most who are being hit the hardest.

“The Energy Price Guarantee benefits those drivers who are fortunate enough to charge their cars at home, but for those that rely on the public charging network – including those without driveways – it’s a much bleaker picture right now.

“The government needs to redouble its efforts in helping drivers to go electric if it is to meet its own net-zero transport objectives and levelling the public and domestic electricity VAT rates would show it is serious about doing so at a time when household budgets are getting ever tighter.”

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