Public EV charging costs jump 14% in three months to 56p/kWh

Soaring wholesale costs passed on to drivers but experts say EVs still cheaper to run that petrol or diesel equivalents

Public EV charging costs have jumped by an average of 14% in the last three months, according to new figures.

The wholesale cost of electricity has soared since the start of the year and chargepoint operators have passed this increase on to drivers. Earlier this month Shell Recharge confirmed it was raising its ultrarapid prices to 85p per kWh after rival Osprey became the first to charge £1. Osprey has since reduced its prices again to 79p in wake of the Energy Bill Relief scheme.

However, figures for the period from June to September released by mapping service Zap-Map, show that the average price for a rapid/ultra-rapid charger (22kW+) was 14 per cent more in September than June – increasing from 49p per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 56p/kWh.

It means that to fully charge a typical electric car, such as the MG4 Long Range with its 62kWh battery, it now costs £34.72 – an increase of £4.32.

The cost of using a slower public charger (22kW in power or less) has increased from 34p/kWh to 39p/kWh in the same timeframe – up 14.7 per cent. Using the same MG4 as an example, it will now cost £24.18 for a full charge with one of these units – £3.18 more than in June.

Zap-Map’s figures were obtained from more than 500,000 charging sessions across approximately 70% of the UK’s public charging network. Despite the increase in the costs of charging, Zap-Map says electric cars are still £900 cheaper to run than a comparable petrol and diesel car, even when relying purely on public electric car chargers.

However, for drivers who can plug in at home and take advantage of lower electricity rates – according to the Energy Saving Trust, the national average as of October 2022 is 34p/kWh – this saving increases to £1,200 versus a conventional car.

Public charging is more expensive partly because electricity at public units is liable for VAT at 20% rather than the 5% charged on domestic energy. Chargepoint operators wrote to the government in September warning that this disparity was forcing up prices at public chargers and threatening investment in the expansion of the UK’s public network.

A Zap-Map survey of 4,300 electric car drivers found that 41 per cent are now concerned about the high cost of charging – up from 33 per cent in 2021. Despite this, 80 per cent were still confident that an EV is currently cheaper to run than an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle.

Melanie Shufflebotham, co-founder and chief operating officer at Zap-Map, said: “Although the results of our survey show many EV drivers are keeping a close eye on the rising costs of electricity, it’s still significantly cheaper to run an electric car than a petrol or diesel vehicle.

“With more and more drivers switching to electric, the purpose of our data is to keep track of the price that EV drivers pay when out and about, as well as how it varies across the different types of chargers. This will in turn help EV drivers to seek out the cheapest charging option and keep their costs firmly under control.”