EV’s & Electricity Bills – A Guide

Electric vehicles or EVs are quickly becoming a top car choice for UK residents, particularly since the government has set legally-binding goals for a net-zero carbon economy. It’s an eco-friendly alternative to burning harmful fuels like petrol and diesel.


However, the rise in energy bills is a talking point for potential and current EV owners. Charging electric vehicles at home is a vital part of ownership and it is one factor that is deterring potential owners from their purchase.


Maximising savings is possible for EV owners—here’s a guide to EVs and their effect on your energy bills.


All about EVs


Electric vehicles have become more practical over the years as choice and range of options improved. In June 2019, fully-electric car sales shot up to 61%, while 3% of total brand-new car sales in the UK account for EVs.


The UK government has already proposed the ban of petrol and diesel engines by 2035, which could further place EVs into the spotlight for car buyers in the coming years.


There are two types of EVs: battery electric vehicles or BEVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles or PHEVs. BEV’s motor is fully battery-powered and has an expected mileage of 100 to 200 miles on a single charge.

PHEVs, on the other hand, combine batter power with a petrol or diesel engine. The internal combustion engine acts as backup power when the battery uses up its power for about 70 miles.


EDF Energy recently published research that showed an EV owner could save up to £41,000 on fuel for an electric vehicle’s lifetime. Aside from this, users can also enjoy exemption from road tax for fully electric vehicles that are worth below £40,000. They are also exempted from the ULEZ or London Congestion Charge and Ultra-Low Emission Zone.


Energy rates relating to EVs


Energy suppliers have responded to the demand by offering incentives for EV owners’ charging habits. There are specific tariffs for electric cars, such as lowered unit costs for off-peak charging (typically during the night).


According to the Electric Nation Smart Charging Trial, 87% of EV charging uses a home charging point. Setting up the system costs £279, with a £500 OLEV grant from the government. Some energy providers offer free or discounted home chargers included on their EV tariffs.


The energy costs of charging an electric car vary on several factors like the car battery size and the rate per unit of energy.


Based on an EDF energy computation, the Nissan Leaf charged at a 16.5p/kWh electricity rate would cost £3.20. However, if your energy tariff is cheaper, then the price you pay for charging an EV would be much less.


Home energy spending could be higher for an EV owner, but most of the time, the higher energy costs are outweighed by environmental benefits and running cost savings.


Tips for EV drivers


Here are several things you could do to maximise your savings if you own an electric-powered car.

Switch to the cheapest fixed-rate energy tariff


You can be saving as much as £300 and more than 7,000 free electric miles annually if you switch to a reasonably priced fixed deal. On average, a UK EV owner drives around 8,000 miles a year, which means that costs of home charging could be cancelled out to nearly 100%.


Take advantage of cheap overnight electricity


Off-peak times are typically the most inexpensive time to charge at home. If you avail yourself of the Economy 7 tariff, you could also be decreasing your energy bills. Several energy firms also offer tariffs that grant rewards to consumers for charging EVs during off-peak times.


Smart meter tariffs


One innovative solution from energy companies includes the use of smart meters for their off-peak tariffs. For guaranteed savings, you can ask your supplier regarding the best times to charge an EV, such as when it’s windy and renewable power is at its peak.


Discounts for EV drivers


A few energy suppliers offer discounts for consumers who own or lease an electric vehicle. For instance, EDF Energy offers half-price on off-peak charging. Other suppliers that provide discounts for home charging include Scottish Power and Ecotricity.


British Gas has free meter installation through its Electric Drivers Energy Plan. Octopus Energy boasts a 50% less expensive rate than the average Economy 7 plan.


Get a smart meter


Smart meters record your energy consumption in pence and pounds, which would make it easier for you to monitor how much it costs to charge your vehicle. It also ensures that the days of estimated bills are done.