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According to RAC’s calculations, the cost of charging the average EV with a 64kWh battery, such as the Kia e-Niro, would take from £18.37 to £33.80 under the current cap. At last winter’s price range, it would cost £13.69 to charge the same car from 0-100%.
EV sales have soared over the past year, but some industry observers are concerned that as running costs come closer to those of petrol and diesel cars, some buyers may be put off switching to EVs.
Part of the appeal of EVs for many drivers has been their lower running cost per mile compared to petrol and diesel vehicles. However, the latest price hike will close that gap to a large extent, especially as fuel prices fall across the country.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “The impact of the energy price cap increase will certainly be felt by drivers who charge their electric cars at home, with the full charge of a typical family-sized electric SUV on 1 October. Costs 84% more than does under current limits.
“Despite the recent drop in the price of petrol and diesel, the cost of charging at home is still a good value compared to paying for fuel, but it again underscores that the rising cost of electricity can be used in so many areas of people’s lives. How is it affecting?
rising running costs
Ben Nelms, co-founder and head of policy at green consultancy New Automotive, said: “Even with rising electricity prices, EVs will remain much cheaper to drive than petrol or diesel cars. There are still great offers for electricity tariffs. EVs can and should be part of the solution to the cost of living woes.”
In many cases even under the new price range, EVs will be cheaper per mile to drive than a similar petrol car but the difference is quite small. As calculated by Hecker based on official consumption figures, the Renault Zoe will cost 11.3p per mile while the similarly sized petrol Vauxhall Corsa will cost 14.5p per mile. Under the new cap, the Nissan Leaf E+ will cost 12.8p per mile while the diesel Ford Focus will cost 13.5p per mile. The difference between an EV and a petrol/electric hybrid is even smaller. The Kia e-Niro referenced by RAC will cost 11.67p per mile over the new unit price, while the full hybrid version of the Niro costs 12.07p at current petrol prices, but £8,500 less to buy.
The latest figures are based on a 52p/kWh cap, but some energy suppliers have favorable EV tariffs for owners who charge at off-peak times, with rates as low as 7.5p per kWh. However, some suppliers, including British Gas and EDF, have suspended the sale of tariffs to new customers.
Emily Seymour, energy and sustainability editor, consumer group What?, said rising costs could deter some motorists from turning to EVs. She said: “A big part of electric vehicle appeal has always been lower running costs, but these price hikes could put more people switching to electric cars at risk. Many non-hybrid petrol drivers still switch to electrics.” You will save money by doing this, but for many diesel drivers this will no longer be the case.
“In a recent survey, we found that the upfront cost of buying an EV is the biggest barrier preventing drivers from considering an electric vehicle – and this latest energy price hike may be deterring people from making the switch.”
Hekar’s consumer editor Dan Powell agreed, saying that the price cap announcement was “grave reading” for EV owners and potential buyers. He commented: “Drivers who are on the fence about going power may soon decide it’s best not to jump in and will instead hang onto their petrol or diesel car.
“It is therefore imperative that the government act now to support EV drivers. Failure to do so risks destabilizing the emerging EV market and undermining the UK’s climate ambitions.
Public charging costs are rising
The RAC said drivers who need to charge away from home will also not survive the price hike and called on public chargers to take action to cut costs. Users who charge on many rapid chargers are already facing higher cost per mile than many petrol or diesel vehicles.
Mr Dennis said: “We know that public ChargePoint operators have no choice but to increase their prices, leaving them facing rising wholesale costs, which will greatly impact drivers who have no choice but to charge. There is no choice but home.
“RAC continues to support FairCharge’s campaign for the government to reduce VAT on electricity from public charge points to 5% to reflect the rate charged on domestic electricity could.”
Chargepoint operator Instavolt, which recently capped its prices to 66p/kWh, said if the government cuts VAT by 5%, its costs would drop to 58p/kWh. The government has previously denied any such change in VAT rates.