The true cost of using Britain’s network of public chargers to replenish the batteries of an electric car have been uncovered.
Charging an electric vehicle using a public charge point can cost almost 10 times more than charging up at home, according to research by What Car?.
It found that early adopters who regularly need to use public charging networks could save money by signing up for a scheme with a one-off or a monthly fee because these often have a lower energy usage rate.
Not as cheap as you think: Research by What Car? has uncovered the astronomical cost of charging electric cars using different public network providers
Ionity, which is a charging network as part of a joint venture between BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company, Hyundai Motor Group and the Volkswagen Group with Porsche AG, was found to be by far the most expensive.
It currently charges 69p per kilowatt hour of charging at its ultra rapid chargers located only at motorway services in the UK.
What Car? found that you’ll pay up to an eye-watering £45.89 to charge an Audi E-tron from 10 per cent to 80 per cent at one of these devices.
Electric car owners can achieve the same level of charge using a home domestic charger at an average night-time energy tariff of 7p per kWh, which will cost just £4.66 to reach 80 per cent capacity.
What Car? said, based on these figures, that those who regularly use an expensive public chargers could end up paying more to drive their electric cars than it costs to fuel and run a comparable diesel-engined vehicle.
For instance, those using the priciest Ionity chargers to top up an E-tron’s batteries will essentially be paying 34p a mile.
Owners of an Audi Q7 50 TDI diesel, which averages 27.2mpg, would – based on recent fuel prices – be paying just 22p a mile.
However, a spokesperson for Ionity said the majority of its users are those who have taken out mobility service provider (MSP) plans to use their devices.
These customers are charged a reduced tariff – similar to a phone contract –to have access to the chargers, rather than having to fork out the 69p kWh fee for one-off usage.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO CHARGE AN ELECTRIC CAR USING DIFFERENT PUBLIC NETWORK PROVIDERS? Network Cost per kWh 10-80% charge Ionity (350kW) £0.69 £45.89 Polar Contactless (150kW) £0.40 £26.60 Ecotricity (22kW, 43kW, 50kW) £0.39 £25.94 Shell Recharge (50kW, 150kW) £0.39 £25.94 Instavolt (50kW to 125kW) £0.35 £23.28 Polar Instant (150kW) £0.35 £23.28 Genie Point (43kW, 50kW) £0.30 £20.95^ Polar Contactless (43kW, 50kW) £0.30 £19.95 ESV EV Solutions (43kW, 50kW) £0.29 £19.29 ESV EV Solutions (43kW, 50kW) £0.25 £16.63< Polar Instant (43kW, 50kW) £0.25 £16.63 Pod Point (43kW, 50kW) £0.23 £15.30 Charge Your Car*** (43kW, 50kW) 25p per min £13.85* Ubitricity (5.5kW) £0.20 £13.45> Polar Plus (150kW) £0.20 £13.30** Ecotricity domestic customers £0.19 £12.64 Polar Plus (43kW, 50kW) £0.15 £9.98** Source London Flexi (22kW) £0.12 £7.91*** Source London Full (22kW) £0.10 £6.32 includes £1.00 fee per charge; < £4.00 monthly fee; *kWh rates vary depending on location; > £9.99 monthly fee, plus £0.15 per charge; ** £7.85 monthly fee; ***£10.00 sign-up fee
Ionity, which is a joint venture between BMW, Daimler, Ford, Hyundai and the VW Group, was found to be the most expensive if electric car owners use its network of 350kW chargers
What Car? reviewed the costs of different public charge points based on the cost to charge the battery of an Audi E-tron from 10% to 80%
According to the latest figures from Zap Map, there are 11,007 public electric car charging locations in the UK in February 2020.
In total there are 17,767 charging devices and 30,860 individual connectors – 462 of which have been installed in the last month.
While Ionity is one of the providers with the highest charges, it is also one of a small number of extremely fast 350kW charging networks available.
Currently, the only electric car on sale capable of taking up to 200kW of charge is the new Porsche Taycan.