The UK has set out plans to increase the number of electric vehicles on its roads over the next few years.
Cold Snowstorm | E+ | Getty Images
UK electric car drivers have seen the cost of using a pay-as-you-go “fast” public charger rise by 42% since May, according to figures released on Monday.
Figures from RAC Charge Watch, part of the RAC, a motoring organisation, show it now costs electric vehicle drivers using the old infrastructure an average of 63.29p (72p) per kilowatt hour to charge their vehicle
Breaking down the figures, the RAC said this meant an 80% fast charge of a “typical family-sized electric car” with a 64kWh battery cost, on average, £32.41 (around 34, $87).
The RAC said the increase was due to “rising wholesale gas and electricity costs”. He added that those using “ultra-fast” chargers had also seen their average charging costs increase by 25%.
The analysis also showed that “a driver who exclusively uses a fast or ultra-fast charger on the public network will now pay around 18p per mile for electricity”, the RAC said.
“This compares to 19p per mile for petrol [gasoline] car and 21p per mile for a diesel, based on someone driving an average of 40 miles per gallon,” he said.
Despite the above, the RAC noted that many electric vehicle users would mostly charge at home, where electricity costs less.
With the UK government’s Energy Price Guarantee imminently coming into effect, the cost per mile of a mid-sized electric vehicle would come to around 9p to charge at home, if driven in a reasonably efficient. An 80% charge at home would cost £17.87, the RAC said.
“For those who have already made the switch to an electric car or are thinking about doing so, it remains the case that charging away from home costs less than refueling a petrol or diesel car, but these figures show that the difference is shrinking as a result of huge increases in the cost of electricity,” said Simon Williams, the RAC’s electric vehicles spokesman.
“These figures show very clearly that it is the drivers who use the most public fast and ultra-fast chargers that are being hit the hardest,” he added.
The UK wants to stop selling new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. It will require all new cars and vans to have zero tailpipe emissions from 2035.
With more electric vehicles set to hit UK roads in the coming years, the RAC is backing calls to lower sales tax on electricity sold to public chargers to correct what it sees as an imbalance between charging public and private.
“While the government’s energy bill relief plan announced last week should help prevent charging costs from rising further, it remains the case that drivers using public chargers are unfairly paying 20% of the VAT [sales tax] for the electricity they buy, compared to charging at home where it’s only 5%,” he said, adding that he supported a campaign for a 5% tariff for both public and private charging.
In a statement sent to CNBC, a government spokesperson said electric vehicles continued to “offer savings opportunities compared to their gasoline and diesel counterparts with lower overall running costs thanks to cheaper charging, lower costs of maintenance and tax incentives”.
“We want consumers to have the confidence to switch to cleaner, zero-emission cars, which is why we continue to support the growth of our world-leading charging network and have committed £1.6 billion from 2020 to providing charging points load throughout the country,” added the spokesperson.
With European economies facing an energy crisis and rising prices over the coming months, there have been concerns in some sectors that the rising cost of charging an electric vehicle will discourage adoption among consumers
Speaking to CNBC earlier this month, Saxo Bank’s head of equity strategy said the “cost advantage of electric vehicles compared to a gas car” was “rapidly diminishing” in Europe.
“I really wonder how much this will start to affect EV sales,” Peter Garnry said.