A Guide to Charging Your Electric Car - We Power Your Car
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A Guide to Charging Your Electric Car

Since March 2020 we have seen one of the hardest years in modern times, with mass redundancies, furloughs and whole industries on hold. Whilst COVID19 has given us its challenges it has also sparked new debate in the environment, renewable energy and how we can live cheaper and greener.

With the government announcing that from 2030 (just 9 years away) diesel and petrol cars will no longer be produced, it is the right time to be thinking about making your next car purchase an electric one. Alongside the benefits to the environment by owning an electric car, are you aware of the benefits to the running costs of an electric car? When making any change to your car, knowing how much it is going to cost is always a significant deciding factor.

But even when you have made the switch to an electric car and seen the savings against your old diesel/petrol car, there are more ways that you can save money when charging your car.

Here at We Power Your Car we have collated our top advice on how to make running your electric car even cheaper.

 

Lower EV Charging Costs Using Off-Peak Energy Tariffs for Home Charging

Undoubtedly the best, most cost-effective and convenient way of charging your vehicle is by charging it at home. It is estimated that most vehicles are parked up for around 89% of the time and a large proportion of this time is outside the home.

The EV charging cost at home is up to 80% cheaper per year than refuelling with petrol or diesel. Using cheaper energy tariffs and optimising your home charging capability with a smart charger, it is possible to push those savings up to around 90% compared with fossil fuel.

CLICK HERE to take a look at the We Power Your Car range of smart home charging stations.

Comparing a 10% cost compared to your normal fuel bill for home charging with that of charging mainly from public charge points at around 63% of your normal fuel bill, it is pretty clear that home charging represents a considerable saving.

Energy Company EV charging tariffs

Some energy companies have started to introduce what they are calling EV tariffs. These are aimed at owners of electric vehicles looking to access the cheapest overnight rates and lower the cost of EV charging. These tariffs also take into account the lifestyle choices of people who have switched to plug-in power out of genuine concern for lowering carbon emissions. They combine lower off-peak rates with energy generated from100% renewable sources.

Some EV tariffs might also include free or reduced-price charging incentives for public charging networks operated by the energy company.

With wider acceptance and uptake of smart meters and smart home chargers that can communicate with them, the energy suppliers are able to tailor their tariffs increasingly towards EV drivers. For example, EDF has introduced two EV tariff rates for households with a compatible smart meter (Correct as of March 2021):

  • GoElectric 98, which has the largest number of off-peak hours (9pm-7am weekdays plus all weekend),
  • GoElectric 35, which has their lowest off-peak rate of 4.5p/kWh in a shorter off-peak window (12am-5am daily)
EDF Tariff Rates From 4.5p/kWh*
Off-peak: 4.5p/kWh
Standard: 12.34p/kWh
Peak: 17.81p/kWh

The off-peak period defined by many energy companies typically starts at around midnight and runs until around 7am or earlier. Some tariffs feature longer off-peak periods than others and can include all day across the weekend.

We have taken an example costing when charging from empty to full using the EDF tariff and the Kia Soul EV ( as representing a typical family EV). We are comparing the cost of electric vehicle charging at the off-peak rate and then at peak rate using a 7kW home charging station and compare with the same mileage refuelling using fossil fuels.

KIA Soul EV Charging Costs at Off-Peak Rate of 4.5p per kWh KIA Soul EV Charging Costs at Peak Rate of 17.81p per kWh
Home Charger Power 7 kWh 7 kWh
Empty to Full Charge Time 9.1 hours 9.1 hours
kWh added 64 kWh 64 kWh
Range mileage added 266 miles 266 miles
Charge cost £2.88 £11.00
Cost per mile 1.1p 4.3p
Saving over fossil fuel cost for 266 miles £29.02 £20.50
Annual saving based on 8000 miles per year £872.78 £616.54

Bear in mind that the above table represents an empty to full charge, but most EV drivers will have some charge remaining in their battery and just top-up when they get home.

Top Tip: If you opt for an off-peak EV tariff, don’t forget to make the best use of it by running power-hungry appliances like washing machines and dishwashers during off-peak hours too.

For customers who would like to switch to an EV and don’t have a compatible smart meter, the advice is to talk to your energy supplier about getting one installed. However, with 100% renewable electricity and some cheap single rate and economy 7 tariffs, you can still find a tariff that will reduce your charging costs and allow you to drive with zero carbon emissions.

The Government is also encouraging the use of cheaper off-peak tariffs. There is a genuine concern that as the electric driving revolution grows exponentially, the resulting increased pressure on the supply grid during peak periods needs to be managed.

In the long term, smart off-peak charging will require less investment in upgrades to the network infrastructure the cost of which would inevitably be passed back to consumers through price hikes.

 

Public Charging Stations

For people who for whatever reason, are not able to access home charging; because they live in an apartment block or a terraced house with no off-street parking, life gets a little more complicated and a little more expensive. Even so, the cost of charging an electric car at a public station in the UK can still represent up to 33% savings compared to fossil fuel.

Things are changing. The Government recognises that a large percentage of potential Electric Vehicle up-takers may not have access to smart home charging. Funding administered by the Office of Zero Admissions (OZEV) is being expanded to solve the problem. 

Rapid charge points, which have the potential to charge your car around 10 times faster than a home charge point, are distributed across the country at over 12,000 locations. When undertaking a longer journey with your electric car, charging on the public network will be essential.

At the time of writing (March 2021) there are 22,354 devices on the UK public charging network of which 4,131 are rapid chargers. This number increases almost daily. Pricing varies from one network to the next. Planning your journey around recharging facilities is made easier using Smartphone apps such Zap-Map

Relying on public charging infrastructure is more expensive, and it depends heavily on the speed, reliability and cost of the various network providers. Some are more reliable and operate better than others. The table below shows the latest customer satisfaction table released by Zap-map.

Public Charging Network Satisfaction Rates

EV Charging Network Rank Overall Rating Rank 2019
Tesla** Recharging for Tesla vehicles only 1 4.8 1
InstaVolt 2 4.4 2
Osprey (formerly Engenie) 3 4.1 8
Pod Point 4 3.7 3
Swarco E.connect 5 3.6 N/A
Shell Recharge 6 3.5 5
ESB EV Solutions 7 3.4 N/A
NewMotion 8 3.3 4
ChargePlace Scotland 9 3.2 7
Engie = 10 3.1 N/A
IONITY = 10 3.1 N/A
GeniePoint 12 3.0 10
BP Pulse (formerly BP Chargemaster/Polar) 13 2.9 5
Source London 14 2.7 N/A
Charge Your Car (CYC) 15 2.6 N/A

Public Charging Network Subscription Services

If you are going to need to charge up using the public network on a regular basis, it makes sense to look for a subscription-based service. For a fixed monthly fee, you would normally get quick access, network availability updates and either free or considerably discounted charging.

One such network is the former Polar network that has recently rebranded to BP Pulse. BP Pulse has more than 8,000 charging points across the UK. Many of the charging stations offer contactless payment facilities for non-subscribers. By subscribing you’ll get an access card, 24/7 365 support and free charging at selected outlets for £7.85 (incl. VAT) a month.

The average annual mileage on a car in 2020 was predicted at around 6,970 miles a year making a Vauxhall Corsa e £278.80 a year to charge and a Teslas Model X £348.50. However, based on the BP Pulse subscription you could charge your car for the same number of miles for just £90.96 a year.

Charging your car at a public place is not always the most convenient or easiest way to charge but it could be worth over £200 especially if you drive significantly above the average annual mileage.

*Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) the average cost for standard electricity in the UK in 2019 was 16.6 pence per kWh

 

Finding Free Public EV Charging Points

Unfortunately, as the uptake of Electronic Vehicles has increased, the availability of free charging points has decreased. Many local councils are keen to encourage emission-free commuting and make free charging points available for EV drivers. Some councils that used to offer free charging have now withdrawn, and as uptake increases, more are likely to follow suit. It stands to reason that the exponential increase in EV uptake experienced recently will increase the cost of offering free charging facilities.

There are still thousands of free electric car charge points dotted around the UK. Supermarkets, shopping centres, public car parks, hotels and some service stations offer free charging. Be aware there could be restrictions such as a set period of time or a requiring a purchase in-store, so it’s best to check when planning for free charging for your vehicle.

There may also be some other routes to sourcing free EV charging. Perhaps through your employment or through energy tariff incentive schemes as discussed further up in this post.

We feel that as electric cars become the new normal there will be a take-up by private businesses (such as supermarkets or car parks) to offer free charging points to entice more customers and provided added value to their customers.

 

Using Solar Energy to Recharge your Electric Vehicle

There is no better or cheaper way to charge your electric vehicle than by using free energy. Solar energy and the way it is collected meet the 100% renewable and carbon-free objectives of the road to zero emissions. This makes solar energy a perfect match for charging your zero-emission electric vehicle.

If you already have solar panels installed, there are smart chargers on the market that will automatically draw on them for the energy needed to recharge an EV. At We Power Your car we can supply and install a solar-ready smart charger like the myenergi Zappi from our range of dedicated smart home charging stations.

UK Government and Energy Company incentives currently exist for both technologies:

  • The Office of Zero Emissions (OZEV) is responsible for administering the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), which provides up to £350 grant aid towards a charge point.
  • The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) for solar energy has filled the gap that what was previously known as the Feed-in Tariff has left behind. The SEG will ensure that energy suppliers pay homeowners for any unused solar-generated electricity.

If you do not currently have solar panels installed and you are looking for lower installation costs, you could consider a smaller array dedicated to charging your electric vehicle. A garage or a carport roof could be a perfect location for a smaller solar panel installation.

Vehicle to Grid technology is an exciting development in the plugin revolution. Battery capacities in modern electric cars are sufficient to supply one household with power for several days. With an electric vehicle standing idle outside the home, pushing excess solar-generated energy from your EV battery back into the home or the grid is a fantastic opportunity to cut the cost of EV charging even further.

 

More ways of lowering EV charging costs

Just like petrol or diesel-run cars there are also everyday best practices when using your electric car to save your money. We have outlined our top tips for battery preservation and reducing the amount you will need to charge your EV battery.

Keeping your EV battery in good condition pays dividends in terms of performance and as a result, charging costs. The kinder you are to your battery the more efficient it is and as a result, your charging costs are reduced.

Tips for looking after your electric vehicle battery:

  • Temperature Control: Batteries are fickle creatures. They do not like temperature extremes either when the vehicle is parked up or in use. When your vehicle is plugged in, the battery will use power from the grid to run its built-in thermal management system. Some batteries also use their thermal management system when unplugged until the charge level gets low. Try to minimise exposure to high temperatures by parking in the shade wherever possible. You should also take steps to protect your battery in extreme low temperature. Plugging in to allow the thermal management system to keep the battery at optimal temperature will preserve it in extreme cold conditions.

 

  • Battery Charging: Many new EV owners will be tempted to plug in as often as possible and maintain the battery as near to 100% charge as possible. This is not a good idea. For regular commuting, it is better to try and draw your journey mileage from a battery charged at between 40 and 70% rather than from 70 to 100%. When you start to home charge using a smart charger it will begin to adjust charging levels for optimal battery preservation taking into account your usage statistics. You should also not let your battery charge get too low. Leaving a standing vehicle unplugged for long periods and allowing the battery to fully discharge is not good practice.

 

  • Avoid Rapid Charging Where Possible: High voltage DC rapid charging stations are not good for your battery. This doesn’t get discussed very often as it is not really in the interest of energy companies and manufacturers to point this out. An occasional rapid charge on longer trips is OK but habitually using rapid charging degrades battery performance in the long run. The best choice for your battery is regular optimised top-up charges using a dedicated home charging station.

 

  • Driving Style: When you first drive an EV you will notice that battery power gives you an incredible amount of torque. While it might be tempting to use this for Formula 1 style standing starts, rapidly discharging your battery in this way is not good for it. Try also to limit the number of lights and accessories you have operating within the vehicle. Stick to the Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) when driving in normal daytime conditions if you can.

 

Electrifying Savings Forever

Electric Vehicles will give you a significant saving over fossil fuel-powered in terms of running costs, but how much that saving is depends on where you charge your car and what you use to do it.

By far the best option is charging your car at home and making the best use of cheap rate energy tariffs and the latest smart home charging technology, along with the convenience of it being right on your doorstep. And as it turns out, charging your car at home is not only cheaper but also helps to preserve the condition of your battery.

For many people living in flats and terrace houses that are not able to have a home charging point, help is on its way with some new Government funding initiatives and advances in technology. But even then, the cost of charging an electric vehicle using a combination of free and paid for public charging facilities will still represent major cost savings of up to 33% when compared to fossil fuel power.

With new legislation, rules and technology coming in all the time for the car industry we are confident that charging an electric vehicle will only become easier and cheaper. By investing now in your own home charging station, you could be putting these savings into lighting speed for you and your family.

 

If you have questions about home EV charging and would like some expert advice, give us a call on  03333 44 96 99 and let us know how we can help you.

 

*All prices, tariffs and charges that have been quoted in this article are correct as of the 8th March 2021 but maybe subject to change or discontinuation.

Tethered charger

This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.

Socketed charger

This type of electric charger requires a seperate cable to charge your car.

Underground cable

We lay SWA cable laid at 600mm deep, with a protective cable warning tape laid 150mm above the cable. These are laid on a sand or sifted sand soil bed then backfilled.

Overhead cable

We position overhead cables at a minimum height of 3.5m and are run along a catenary wire. The cable run should not be accessible to vehicles.

Standard Installation
Our instant price is fixed if it falls within our standard installation package plus any additions that you have selected (extra cabling for example). This package covers the majority of homes in the UK. Before we undertake your installation we will carry out a digital survey to check that nothing has been missed. After reviewing the survey results some additional work may be required in order to complete your installation safely and to the required standards. If this is the case, we will contact you well before the installation date and advise the cost of any required work. You can then continue with your installation, or alternatively we will refund you in full if you do not want to proceed.

Included in our standard installation is :
• Fitting of a single phase charge point to a brick or plaster wall or other suitable permanent structure
• Up to 10 metres of cable, run and neatly clipped to the wall between the electricity supply meter / distribution board and the charge point.
• Routing of the cable through a drilled hole in a wall up to 500mm (20 inches) thick if this is needed.
• The fitting and testing of electrical connections and protections required for the charge point.
• An additional three way consumer unit, if required
• Installation of a Type A RCBO in an RCBO enclosure
• Up to 3 metres of plastic trunking to conceal interior wiring.
• An O-pen earth protection device if the charge point requires it. (This is NOT an earth rod)
• Up to 4 hours of labour from your installer to complete the work.
• Electrical testing of the whole installation.
• Handover and setup of the charge point and any app that may be needed.

Not included in our standard installation (additional work) :
• Where the installation requires additional cabling over and above the amount you have told us about.
• Upgrade/replacement of the main incoming supply fuse where the local DNO (eg Northern Powergrid) would need to attend site.
• If the charge point is to be mounted on a post/pedestal rather than an existing wall and where you have not selected a post as an extra cost option in your order.
• Installation of a charge point to a three phase supply.
• Where gas and water mains bonding (earthing) is not in place at your property. If this is not in place, additional work would be required before installation of the charge point.
• Any groundwork that has not been selected during the order process.

What else you need to know :
• On the day of installation, please ensure that the area around your consumer unit (fuse box), incoming electricity supply meter and proposed charge point location (including where the cable is expected to be run) is clear and free of obstructions.
• We will need your WiFi password as part of the installation process in order to connect your charge point to the internet. Please have this available for the installer. Details will not be kept.
• The charge point must be on your own designated off road parking.
• The charger will be fixed in line with current guidelines at a height where it cannot be hit by a vehicle.
• Our installers are not able to enter loft spaces; lift floorboards or flooring; take apart any furniture of work above a height of 2m. If you anticipate that any of this may be required, then please contact us and we can discuss in more detail and provide you with a quotation.
• Should there be extreme weather conditions our installers may not be able to continue with you installation if it is not safe to do so (for example flooding). They will always do their best to complete the work where they can.

If you have any questions then please contact our customer service team who will be happy to help. Please also read our terms and conditions.