As with petrol and diesel prices, charging an electric vehicle (EV) is on the up.

For EV owners on a pay-as-you-go, non-subscription basis, rapid charging has increased by 21% since September.

All charged up

Analysis by the RAC’s new Charge Watch initiative and the FairCharge campaign shows that the per kilowatt hour (kWh) price has risen by 7.81p, from 36.74p to 44.55p.

This means that the average cost to complete an 80% rapid charge of a typical family-sized electric car has increased by £4 in eight months. The average goes from £18.81 to £22.81.

In stark contrast, the cost of filling a 55-litre family car from empty to 80% with petrol has increased by £14.54 to £74.21 – a 24% increase.

The analysis shows it now costs on average 10p per mile to charge at a rapid charger. It was 8p per mile (ppm) last September.

However, it is nearly half the cost per mile compared to filling a petrol-powered family car. This has witnessed a rise from 15ppm since the end of last September to 19ppm now. The cost per mile for a similarly sized diesel-powered car is even higher at nearly 21p.

Meanwhile, the average price of charging at the quickest ultra-rapid chargers is also on the increase. These chargers can deliver a charge to a compatible vehicle in as little as 20 minutes, but it’s  increased by 16.76p per kWh, from 34.21p in September to 50.97p in May. So, charging a vehicle to 80% has risen from £17.51 to £26.10.

The war

Price rises can be explained by the increases in wholesale cost of electricity. These are driven by hikes in the cost of gas.

Ofgem figures show that the wholesale cost of gas doubled between the end of September 2021 and the end of March this year. Wholesale electricity prices have risen by around 65% over the same period.

The uprising

“Our analysis shows that the quickest places to charge are also the most expensive,” says RAC electric vehicle spokesperson Simon Williams. Ultra-rapid chargers cost on average 14% more to use than rapid chargers.

“The most affordable way of charging an electric car isn’t at a public charger,” states Williams. “It’s from home, where overnight electricity rates can be much lower than their public charger counterparts.

The other reason home charging can be so much cheaper is because of the way that electricity is taxed.

“VAT on electricity from a public charger is levied at a rate four-times that which applies to domestic electricity, ” explains Williams.

Plugging in to a fair deal

The FairCharge campaign is calling for the 20% VAT rate currently charged to be cut to match the 5% levied on domestic electricity.

It is a campaign the RAC “are right behind”. Williams says it is “totally unfair and flies in the face of the Government’s ambition for many more drivers to opt for an electric vehicle”.

“Given the cost-of-living crisis, it’s surely only fair that everyone pays the same level of VAT no matter where they buy their electricity from.”

The RAC has launched Charge Watch to give greater clarity to drivers about what they can expect to pay to charge on public networks.