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Electric car charging

Electric cars - what’s the impact on my energy bill?

With the government’s announcement that sales of diesel and petrol cars will be banned in the UK from 2040, many have questions around electric cars — including how to charge one at home and how much it will cost you.

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The good news is, energy suppliers are not only creating tariffs just for electric vehicle owners, but some suppliers are catering entirely for these households.

Here’s what you need to know about electric cars in the UK and your energy costs.

Types of electric vehicles and their driving ranges

How long your car stays charged for depends on the type of electric vehicle you choose. Here’s a quick overview of the popular options.

There are generally three types of plug-in electric vehicles:

  • Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) These have a 100% battery-powered motor (also referred to as battery-only electric vehicle, full electric vehicle or all-electric vehicle). Owners can expect about 100-200 miles of driving from one charge.
  • Extended range electric vehicles (E-REVs) These cars have a 100% electric battery-powered motor as well as an additional petrol or diesel generator that can fuel the battery until the next charge. The battery typically lasts for 125 miles with the back up generator offering another 200 miles.
  • Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) These cars run on a combination of battery-powered motor with an additional petrol or diesel powered engine. The battery fuels the car for up to 50 miles, with an additional 250-300 miles gained from the traditional engine.

Charging stations and how long it takes to charge electric cars

Infrastructure for charging electric vehicles is a hot topic in the UK right now, as manufacturers and government policy push electric cars into the mainstream. The good news is, it's probably easier (and cheaper!) to charge an electric vehicle than you think.

Charging at home

If you have a garage or drive, overnight charging is relatively easy. All electric cars come equipped with a charging cable that plugs into the car and right into a standard plug socket. A simple outdoor socket is all you need to charge your car at home. It typically takes about six to eight hours to charge an EV to a range of 100 miles.

Alternately, you can purchase and install a specialty home charging unit that can speed up your charge time by two-and-a-half times the standard time.

Public charging stations

If you park in the street, your charging will need to be more strategic. Your options are charging while you’re parked at your office, or utilising one of the 4,000-plus public charging points in the UK.

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How much does it cost to charge my electric car?

If you charge at home, this will depend greatly on your specific energy tariff. You will want to compare and switch to the best energy deal to ensure you’re charging your electric car at the cheapest possible rates.

Generally speaking, however, according to the Energy Saving Trust, it costs anywhere from £2 to £4 to charge up your EV to a range of 100 miles.

If you’re relying on public charging points, many of these are free to use as of now, but that will likely change as electric vehicles grow in popularity.

Are there specialty energy tariffs for electric car owners?

Yes!

Select suppliers offer energy plans designed for electric car households. These tariffs may come with discounted rates or free membership to a network of charging points across the UK.

Households planning to regularly charge their cars at home can also consider an economy 7 tariff. This type of tariff requires an associated economy 7 meter, which tracks your usage at specific times of day so that you can be charged a cheaper rate for overnight use — perfect for those charging for six to eight hours over the night-time period.

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Why pay more for the same energy?

Find and switch to a better energy deal in minutes