Thousands of EV drivers could save hundreds of pounds when charging their cars at home by switching to specialist EV tariffs, but most are missing out, data from EV payment specialist Mina has shown.
In its latest EV Report into running costs for electric cars and vans, Mina found that the average pence per kWh cost for charging at home was lower than the average overall home energy cost – but only just – suggesting that drivers were not using lower off-peak or EV-specific tariffs enough.
The average home charge was 30p per kWh – only slightly less than the average cost of all home electricity at 34p per kWh for the period analysed. Added to this, Mina’s data, which tracked the charges, costs and consumption of more than 60,000 plug-in events, found there were over 800 different home tariffs.
The result, it said, was customer confusion and an inability to work out if, or how, they should move to a more suitable tariff, which potentially meant some drivers were paying over six times more than they could be to charge: equivalent to spending £15 more on each home charge for a typical EV with a 60kWh battery. Over 20,000 miles a year, that would equate to around £1,500 that could otherwise have been saved.
“The lowest rate in our data of 60,000 charges was 5p per kWh for an EV specific home tariff, yet the average cost was 30p per kWh,” said Mina CEO Ashley Tate. “Clearly, those two numbers are a long way apart which suggests there is more work to do, in that not enough drivers are on specific tariffs that will save them money.
“There is no lack of desire from energy suppliers to offer EV tariffs and help drivers make the switch, but with current wholesale energy costs being so high and unpredictable, they’re finding it hard to launch these tariffs. However, I do think we’ll see more of these coming to the market over the next two years. They are vitally important for the development of the EV market,” said Ashley.
“We have spoken to some EV owners who have been contacted by forward-thinking energy firms about the possibilities of switching to a more suitable tariff, and that’s really good to hear how they are changing over and saving money. Certainly one of the most proactive energy suppliers is Octopus Energy in trying to get EV drivers on the right tariffs.”
Octopus Energy is one of the leading energy suppliers in the UK and a smart tariff pioneer. Its Intelligent Octopus tariff allows drivers to charge for 10p an hour during a six hour window when it is best for the grid – helping drivers cut charging costs while balancing the grid.
Alex Schoch, Head of Flexibility at Octopus Energy Group, commented: “EV uptake has taken off in the UK – drivers are increasingly aware of the benefits of switching out their old school gas guzzling car.
“As Mina’s report confirms, EV tariffs such as Intelligent Octopus allow drivers to tap into the lower running costs available with electric cars, while helping to balance the grid and bring down bills for everyone. As more low cost renewables join the grid, these costs will only fall further – helping reduce the impact of travel on our wallets, as well as the planet.”
Often EV-specific tariffs have a shorter low cost window at night for charging than standard off-peak, but the charges are considerably less during that period – perhaps only a third of the cost of off-peak.
Ashley Tate said there were a number of issues drivers should be aware of when considering an EV tariff:
1 Do you understand how much energy you are using at home to charge your EV?
2 Is a nightly 4-5 hour EV tariff window enough for daily charging needs, and can you schedule your EV (or EVs!) charge to fit into it?
3 Often the accompanying peak tariff rate is higher than average. Would the rest of your home energy bills negate the savings of the EV-specific element?
4 Would a standard off-peak tariff, which is a higher cost at often around two-thirds that of peak, but goes on for longer (usually around eight hours), be a better bet?
“Our data shows that home charging is by far the most economical way to charge your car or van, and users of our system agree: 92% of all charges in the Mina database come from plugging in at home rather than in public. But choosing the right tariff is a question of balance, and requires a holistic understanding of all home energy – not just EVs,” Ashley added.
“We welcome the recent Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Action Plan published by the Government in which it says it wants to educate EV owners on the benefits of smart charging.
“But owners need more practical assistance with personalised calculations based on the usage of all their household electricity needs. This will hugely help in getting people on the right tariff for them, and so lower costs, spread energy demand and accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.”