Fleet News

Public charging cost differences highlighted in new study

Electric vehicle (EV) drivers can pay more than four times as much for the same amount of electricity when they use different public chargers, new research reveals.

A study carried out by What Car? has highlighted that charging a BMW iX3, with an 80kWh battery, from 10%-80% could cost between £9.32 and £40.66, as a result of the different tariffs and charges offered across the UK charging network.

BP’s Pulse 7.4kW pay-as-you-go tariff was the cheapest found, with a charge costing £9.32 for the iX3, at a cost of £0.18 per kWh.

While other providers were found to offer cheaper kWh rates, they often required a subscription fee or one-off payment, which inflated prices.

With a subscription, these networks would help owners save money in the long run. However, charging up at home is still the cheapest option, with the 10-80% boost for the iX3’s batteries costing £7.25.

Source London Flexi (7.4kW) delivered the most expensive charge in the study, costing £40.66 – despite providing the same 7.4kW charging speed as BP Pulse.

Available to London residents in Camden, Kensington & Chelsea, and Westminster, the charge included a £10 one-off sign-up fee and £0.073 per minute tariff. 

The network’s 7.4kW chargers automatically stop charging a fee after four hours for cars being charged up between 8pm and 7pm, so an overnight charge for the iX3 on the Flexi tariff would cost £27.52, including the initial £10 fee.

The one-off fee also makes the first daytime charge on a 22kW Source London Flexi subscription expensive at £38.79. That said, subsequent charges are more affordable and frequent users will recoup the cost of the initial fee. It’s also important to note that Source London only charges its highest rates in the three London boroughs listed above; prices are lower elsewhere and many of its chargers are free to use.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Source London is the only network to include on-street parking in its usage fees. This gives our members the ability to park anywhere in London, including Central London, without having to pay any additional on-street parking fees which would often have to be paid separately at other locations.”

Outside London, Ionity’s rapid 350kW network proved most expensive, with a £0.69 per kWh fee to use its rapid chargers. The 80% charge would take just 35 minutes, though, compared with more than seven hours using a slower 7.4kW charger.

What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: “Unlike petrol and diesel prices, which are relatively stable across the country, tariffs for the UK’s public charging network can vary wildly due to different electricity and subscription fees. Our research highlights the importance of doing your research before you leave home to find the most cost-effective way to make your journey.” 

The findings follow the launch of a Government consultation to investigate ways to improve the public charging experience for drivers. 

Among the key points is a proposal that charge point operators have to make pricing information more readily available, along with location and power output data.

The Government says that this is essential for ensuring costs are fair, for driving competition, and for increasing the confidence of both existing EV drivers and those considering making the switch.

Cost of charging a BMW iX3 (80kWh), according to What Car?'s study:

Network and tariff

Monthly fee (£)

Fee per charge (£)

Cost per kWh (£/kWh)

Total
10-80% charge cost
(£)

Source London Flexi (7.4kW)*

0.00

0.00

0.073 per min

40.66

Source London Flexi (22kW)*

0.00

0.00

0.13 per min

38.79

Ionity (350kW)

0.00

0.00

0.69

35.74

Source London PAYG (7.4kW)

0.00

0.00

0.084 per min

35.28

Source London Full (7.4kW)

4.00

0.00

0.05 per min

25.00

Source London PAYG (22kW)

0.00

0.00

0.157 per min

22.18

BP Pulse subscription (150kW)

7.85

0.00

0.27

21.84

BP Pulse PAYG (150kW)

0.00

0.00

0.42

21.76

BP Pulse PAYG contactless (150kW)

0.00

0.00

0.42

21.76

Shell Recharge (43kW, 50kW)

0.00

0.00

0.39

20.20

ESB subscription London (50kW)

4.99

0.00

0.28

19.49

Source London Full (22kW)

4.00

0.00

0.109 per min

19.40

Osprey (22kW to 50kW)

0.00

0.00

0.36

18.65

Instavolt (50kW)

0.00

0.00

0.35

18.13

Geniepoint London (43kW, 50kW)

0.00

1.80

0.30

17.34

Char.gy PAYG (7kW)

0.00

0.00

0.33

17.09

Ubitricity SmartCable Membership (7.4kW)

7.99

0.19

0.16

16.57

Geniepoint Rapid (43kW, 50kW)

0.00

1.00

0.30

16.54

ESB contactless London (50kW)

0.00

0.50

0.30

16.04

Geniepoint (7kW, 22kW)

0.00

0.50

0.30

16.04

BP Pulse subscription (50kW)

7.85

0.00

0.15

15.62

BP Pulse PAYG contactless (50kW)

0.00

0.00

0.30

15.54

Ecotricity (43kW, 50kW)

0.00

0.00

0.30

15.54

ESB PAYG London (50kW)

0.00

0.00

0.30

15.54

BP Pulse subscription (7kW)

7.85

0.00

0.12

14.07

BP Pulse PAYG (50kW)

0.00

0.00

0.25

12.95

Ubitricity PAYG (7.4kW)

0.00

0.00

0.24

12.43

Pod Point (43kW, 50kW)

0.00

0.00

0.23

11.91

BP Pulse PAYG (7.4kW)

0.00

0.00

0.18

9.32

 

*£10 sign-up fee, the cost per minute on 7.4kW chargers is capped at four hours between 8pm and 7am, making overnight charging cheaper

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