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Cost of running & charging an electric car

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The overall running & charging costs of an Electric car

Thinking about buying an electric vehicle? The great news is that they’re much cheaper to run than petrol or diesel vehicles. But let’s see exactly how much it costs to charge and run an electric car. 

Article contents: 

  • The cost of an electric future 
  • Cost of charging electric cars 
    • EV public charging costs
    • EV home charging costs
  • Electric vehicles vs petrol & diesel 
    • Running costs 
    • Tax costs
    • Maintenance costs 
    • Insurance costs 
    • Congestion charge costs 
  • Power NI EV Tariffs 

The cost of an electric future

There are now more than 13,000 electric vehicles on the road in Northern Ireland, with the number of electric vehicle registrations doubling between 2020 and 2021 alone. As more of us make the switch from conventional cars, the financial impact of electric cars is becoming an increasingly important consideration.

Heading into this electric future is exciting and brings with it a lot of benefits when it comes to both the environment and your fuel costs. The lower running costs of electric cars have a direct financial benefit, while their environmental friendliness is often rewarded with lower taxes and charges. 

But if you’re new to electric vehicles, you’ve probably got questions about the exact costs involved. So, how much will you save by buying an electric car? What are the various costs of running an electric vehicle? And how does the cost of charging and running an electric car compare with the cost of running petrol or diesel cars? In this guide, we’ll help you to answer all of those questions and more.

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Just as the cost of fuelling a conventional car varies depending on a number of factors, the cost of charging an electric car is not always the same. 

The size of the battery, the type of charger being used and the electricity tariff all impact the cost of each charge. Similarly the car make, model, journey type and average speed will determine how often you need to charge and, as a result, the total cost of charging your electric car.

Cost of charging electric cars at home 
Most electric vehicle owners charge their cars at home. This is the cheapest and most convenient charging option, particularly when you have a home wallbox charger installed. A home charging station can usually be installed at your property, allowing you to charge overnight on a more cost-effective tariff. Home chargers are typically 7 kW-rated, whereas a standard three-pin plug would only charge at 2.3 kW.

There are two key considerations when charging electric cars at home: the costs of the charging station itself and the cost of the electricity you’re using.

1.    Electric vehicle charging stations

  • There are various types of electric car chargers, each with different power ratings, sizes and installation requirements. Power NI’s EV Charger is the smallest smart home charger and has a power rating of up to 7.2 kW.

  • The costs of buying and installing home chargers are equally varied. Usually, the installation cost will be in the region of £1,000. We offer a free survey to help you understand if your home is suitable for a standard installation.

  • If you live in a flat or a rented property you can apply for an EV charge point grant to cover 75% of your installation costs. There are no government grants for EV charger installation in other homes available in Northern Ireland right now. 

2.    Home electric vehicle charging 

  • EV home charging costs will vary depending on your electricity tariff and the size of your electric car’s battery.
  • Charging overnight at home can take advantage of dual rate energy tariffs that provide a low unit rate for night time consumption.
  • The cost of electric vehicle charging at home is added to your regular electricity bill, so it’s important to make sure you’re on the right tariff.

Cost of charging electric cars in public

On long journeys or for convenience, it’s sometimes better to charge an electric car in public, such as at a service station, supermarket or workplace. There are both paid and free public chargers available. The cost, maximum stay limit and charging conditions vary between different providers across Northern Ireland. 

1.    Paid electric vehicle charging

  • Paid charging in Northern Ireland is typically around 36% more expensive  than charging at home. Prices are higher for faster, more powerful chargers.

  • Charging prices in the Republic of Ireland are similar, particularly at charge points owned by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB), which operates the majority of public chargers across Ireland.

  • You can access lower charging rates by paying a monthly subscription fee for membership.

2.    Free electric vehicle charging

  • Free public charging locations are places that allow you to charge your electric car for free.

  • Free chargers are usually found at places where you’re already paying for another service. Car parks, hotels, supermarkets and visitor attractions are examples of places that sometimes offer free charging.

  • There will usually be restrictions on the use of free chargers, such as maximum stay limits or customer use only.

You’ll find public chargers at car parks, petrol stations, service stations and retail parks in towns and cities across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. 

EV vs petrol - are electric cars cheaper to run?

When you’re weighing up the cost of electric vehicles there are a wide range of considerations, including the purchase price, the cost of installing a charging station and the cost of repairs. But what you’ll notice day to day are the running costs. One of the many benefits of having an electric car is that they are much cheaper to run than petrol cars. Let’s see how the running costs of electric cars and conventional vehicles compare.

1.    Reduced fuel cost

Charging an electric car costs significantly less than fuelling a combustion engine vehicle with petrol or diesel.

Comparing EV vs petrol running costs, electric cars cost around 4-8p per mile to run when charged on a night rate tariff, while petrol cars are typically at least 16-20p per mile. EVs have the option of sustainable energy sources while the cost of running petrol cars is significantly impacted by global oil prices. EVs have the flexibility of cheaper, overnight charging while petrol costs the same no matter what time of day you fill up.


2.    Zero tax costs

Vehicle tax — more commonly known as road tax — is the tax most car owners pay in order to drive on our roads. The level of tax is based on the amount of carbon dioxide released by each vehicle. 

Since pure electric vehicles don’t emit any CO2, they are exempt and you will pay no road tax for driving one. Hybrid car owners will usually pay £145 per year. Petrol and diesel car owners will pay £165 per year in addition to a first-year tax of between £10 and £2,365 depending on the level of carbon dioxide emissions.  


3.    Lower maintenance costs

An important part of vehicle running costs is the cost of keeping it running. Electric cars compare very favourably to petrol cars when it comes to maintenance and upkeep.

Electric vehicles have far fewer parts than conventional vehicles. That means fewer moving parts, less friction and not as many opportunities for things to go wrong. The main component of an electric car is the battery and most batteries are guaranteed for 100,000 miles or eight years.

4.    Zero congestion charges in UK

Congestion charges now apply in many city centres. If you regularly travel by car to cities in England or Scotland, an electric car will help you to avoid picking up extra charges during your trip.

An electric car will also be useful if Belfast, Dublin and other cities decide to introduce a congestion charge in the future.

5.    Insurance costs

One area of running costs in which petrol has the edge is insurance. Electric car insurance is currently more expensive than insuring a petrol car. This is partly because most electric cars are new and have a relatively high purchase price. It is also because electric cars are still not as common as petrol cars, so parts can be more costly in the event of an accident.

As electric cars become more common, parts become more readily available and more mechanics become used to working with electric cars — and as petrol cars are gradually phased out from our roads — the cost of insurance is likely to level out between electric and petrol.

Power NI Electric Vehicle Tariffs 

We’re committed to helping you keep the cost of charging and running your electric car as low as possible. That’s why we offer flexible EV plans with cheaper overnight charging rates and online billing discounts — all while further reducing your carbon footprint by charging your car with green energy.

Take a look at our Power NI electric vehicle tariffs to see how they’d work for you. EV tariffs