Public EV charging costs increase by 42% in four months

The cost of charging an electric vehicle (EV) at a public charger has increased by 42% from 18.75p/kWh in May to an average of 63.29p/kWh.

According to the data released by RAC Charge Watch, the increase has been a result of the ongoing energy crisis impacting the UK’s economy as a result of high wholesale gas and electricity prices.

This increase in the wholesale electricity prices recently led Osprey Charging to increase the price of its rapid EV charging network to £1/kWh amid the “extraordinary circumstances”. This increased from 40p/kWh from August 2021.

There are now fears that more chargepoint operators (CPOs) could also increase the price of EV charging and thus reduce public interest in EVs.

Ultra-rapid chargers that have a power output of more than 100kW, have seen average charging costs increase by 25%, or 12.97p, since May with the current average price of charging sitting a little over the cost at 63.94p per kilowatt hour, the RAC said.

The RAC’s figures reveal that an EV driver using only rapid or ultra-rapid chargers on the public network will now be expected to pay around 18p per mile for electricity, up from an average of 13p in May.

Because of this, there is a significant difference in the costs between home charging and public charging. The RAC said that under the Energy Price Guarantee that takes effect from 1 October, the cost per mile for an average-sized EV driven reasonably efficiently is around 9p and the cost to charge a car to 80% at home will be £17.87.

In comparison, public charging will see the cost of an 80% charge set at £32.74, up from £26.10 in May, a 25% increase, and from £17.51 in September 2021, an 87% increase.

This large increase could be enough to deter many drivers from adopting EVs. Last month, Centrica’s Hive revealed 54% of UK drivers wanted to switch to an electric car within the next five years ahead of the internal combustion engine production ban from 2030. It is unknown what impact the energy crisis has now had on these figures.

“For those that have already made the switch to an electric car or are thinking of doing so, it remains the case that charging away from home costs less than refuelling a petrol or diesel car, but these figures show that the gap is narrowing as a result of the enormous increases in the cost of electricity,” said RAC EV spokesperson Simon Williams.

“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.”

To create a level playing field for EV charging, the RAC has thrown its weight behind the FairCharge campaign calling for VAT rates to be set at 5% for both variants of charging.

This move would reduce the cost of an 80% rapid charge by 7.91p to 55.38p/kWh, and an ultra-rapid charge by 7.99p to 55.95p/kWh. It would also not unfairly penalise those drivers who can’t charge their cars at home, the RAC said.

“Last week, charge point operators got behind the RAC-backed FairCharge campaign in calling for the Government to end the inequity that exists between drivers who can charge at home and those that cannot, by cutting the 20% VAT charged on electricity at public chargers to match the 5% domestic rate,” Williams said.

“The UK 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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