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Public Chargers Will Increase Driving Costs

February 22, 2021

By Paul Homewood


The Mail seems surprised you will pay a lot more to charge your car at a public site than at home!




It does not seem to have occurred to the journalist that operators need to recoup the cost of the charger as well as the electricity used.

The table rather bears out my quick survey the other month, that suggested rates would be around 35p/KWh.

The only outliers are the two London sites at the top, no doubt reflecting higher costs there, and Ionity’s 350 KW charger. (We know that these superchargers are much more expensive to install, pro rata; so it is not surprising that drivers are expected to pay for the benefit of a quick charge).

At the bottom, BP Pulse charges 18p/KWh if you have a subscription (£7.85/month), or 25p otherwise. So there appear to be no offers under 25p/KWh without a sub.


A Nissan Leaf will do about 100 miles for a 40 KWh charge, so at 35p, this would cost £14, or 14p per mile. A petrol alternative would do about 50 mpg; excluding fuel duties, this works out at around £5, or 5p per mile.

In their Net Zero Plan, the Committee on Climate Change claimed that savings from buying and running electric cars would go part way to offsetting extra costs of decarbonisation elsewhere.

Clearly for anybody who regularly needs to use public chargers, this is adding insult to injury.

  1. MikeHig permalink
    February 22, 2021 3:34 pm

    On those numbers, fossil fuel is still slightly cheaper even with duties included.

    That raises another awkward question: how is the govt going to recover the lost tax revenue?
    If the cost of public charging for EVs is in the same range as fuel for ICE vehicles, there is no headroom for slapping on duties. Taxing home charging is one option but would rely on “smart” meters and chargers, missing the many users who just plug into a wall socket (“granny charging” in EV-speak).
    My guess is they will introduce a mileage-based tax with a variety of rates for type of fuel, emissions, etc.. Most new cars already have built-in internet connection which would allow tracking of mileage. Others could be taxed on an estimated basis and reconciled by the MOT.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 23, 2021 9:05 am

      MOT won’t work we as EVs are all going to be new and so won’t require an MOT for a couple of years. And then what happens if you sell just before it’s due? The new buyer pays for all your miles? Then there’s the issue of people no longer having a car because they are priced out. People will adapt their behaviour in ways the bureaucrats will not anticipate and it will be a disaster.

  2. Gamecock permalink
    February 22, 2021 4:08 pm

    ‘It does not seem to have occurred to the journalist that operators need to recoup the cost of the charger as well as the electricity used.’

    Nor does it include the cost of maintenance. And random vandalism. And administration.

  3. Gamecock permalink
    February 22, 2021 4:12 pm

    ‘In their Net Zero Plan, the Committee on Climate Change claimed that savings from buying and running electric cars would go part way to offsetting extra costs of decarbonisation elsewhere.’

    This is the government planning level, where it’s okay if their policies crush people, as long as it’s balanced out elsewhere. Only the “big picture” counts to them.

  4. Frank Everest permalink
    February 22, 2021 4:49 pm

    …”100 miles for a 40 KWh charge in the Leaf” is an underestimate: it’s probably about 140 miles/40kWh.
    And “A petrol alternative would do about 50 mpg; EXCLUDING fuel duties,” is mad: why exclude them? It’s actually 12p/mile or thereabouts.
    If we say that the Leaf does about 3.5miles/kWh, then if the kWh cost is 35p, that’s around 10p/mile. which is still a bit cheaper than petrol.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      February 22, 2021 5:41 pm

      Because road fuel is taxed at 200% and electricity isn’t?

      • H Davis permalink
        February 22, 2021 7:51 pm

        But it will be once there are no more petrol cars to tax.

      • Duker permalink
        February 23, 2021 3:06 am

        Yes they will getting around to tax equalisation once the plebs use it more than executive set.
        Wine used to taxed cheaper than beer or spirits then it wasnt. Loose tobacco used to be taxed less than cigarettes then it wasnt.
        Sales tax used to nil for most items and only for luxuries and things that were ‘once luxuries’ like cars or computers and TVs. Now they all have VAT/GST including houses, pen and paper, shoes, clothing.
        Tax on cars electricity for charging will likely be considerable outside overnight charging at home- where it will be ‘managed demand’

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      February 22, 2021 5:50 pm

      Currently there is no duty on electricity used in pure EVs. In order to make a like for like cost comparison for the energy used per mile you have to remove the fuel duty on petrol/diesel (and LPG) to get the energy cost per mile. On your calculation the government has to raise about 7p per mile once EVs are a significant part of private transport. Currently they are getting free use of roads.

      • tomo permalink
        February 22, 2021 6:19 pm

        I had a low pollution LPG fuelled vehicle that rated 1 London congestion charge a year for unlimited visits … so, I feel that I have some insight into “early adopter costs remorse” as far as levies and taxes are concerned….

        Feckers have now stabbed my vehicle with an age related “fine”….

        I really hope that some enterprising group does what the motorcyclists have done in London:

    • February 22, 2021 6:47 pm

      Fuel duties are excluded, as EV drivers will have to pay taxes in lieu of them eventually.

      Nissan claim about 160 miles for 40 KWh, but there is no way you will get anything close to that when you need heating, wipers or air con

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 22, 2021 8:54 pm

        A recent Forbes article had the range on motorway driving down to just 90 miles so a recharge about every hour. Going to take a while to drive from London to Glasgow. Perhaps they will introduce trains that carry cars….

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        February 22, 2021 9:09 pm

        “Real world” EV performance according to What Car?

      • I don't believe it! permalink
        February 23, 2021 12:34 am

        Interesting that despite all the hype,Teslas are only average when comes to their range. That was their major selling point!

      • I don't believe it! permalink
        February 23, 2021 12:38 am

        Should have said ‘ not much above average’ to be fair!

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 23, 2021 9:06 am

      To make a proper economic comparison you always exclude arbitrary charges. Otherwise you are simply comparing arbitrary charges.

  5. Penda100 permalink
    February 22, 2021 5:28 pm

    According to today’s DT increased electricity charges are not the only additional cost falling on EV drivers. A shortage of key materials (as pointed out by Paul)will increase the cost of new EVs.
    “Car manufacturers are likely to have to pay more as they compete with each other for the materials needed to fulfil their electric ambitions. A forecast from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s lithium ion battery database predicts that demand for power packs for cars will increase at an annualised rate of 40pc between 2020 and 2025 in Europe alone.
    Its research also sets out a scenario where demand for graphite, which is used in anodes for batteries, rises by 30pc annually until 2030, with a supply deficit beginning next year.

    But of course none of this matters when there’s a planet to save.

  6. tomo permalink
    February 22, 2021 6:12 pm

    Click to access DCP-371_Last-resort-arrangements-for-Distributors-to-manage-specific-consumer-connected-devices.pdf

    Private chargers look a bit wobbly too.

    Not difficult to imagine developers having to build a generator shed on executive housing estates?

    An estate full of Tesla owners also needs fibre broadband to upload the gigabytes of logged activity per vehicle per month 🙂

    • Paul H permalink
      February 22, 2021 10:01 pm

      Highlighting the push for 5G. Frying us all as a bye product.

    • In The Real World permalink
      February 23, 2021 11:07 am

      As well as the fact that there is not enough generation capacity to charge up more than a very small percentage of EVs ,and perhaps half of car owners can not charge up near their home , the majority of 20th century housing is supplied by a sub main system that is based on an average of 10 KWh per house per day .Or a average of 5KW per house at any one time because not everybody has everything switched on at the same time . [ 50 houses will be on a 250 max KW substation ].
      So there is no possibility of many EV owners being able to charge at home .
      Which means that most will have to charge at public chargers , if & when that is possible , & the running costs will always be higher than than current petrol/ diesel costs .

  7. Peter permalink
    February 22, 2021 7:00 pm

    I have no interest in owning an electric car with its obvious drawbacks. No doubt the government will do its best to stop me from driving a petrol model. At some stage I am going to lose this battle but I will go down fighting, especially when the justification for all this lunacy is based on failed climate models.

  8. Dave Ward permalink
    February 22, 2021 7:04 pm

    Not only will they pay through the nose when using a public fast charger, but they actually get LESS effective charge per KWhr paid for, due to the greater losses involved. This includes heat dissipated in cables & connectors due to resistance, as well as the losses in the battery itself. And, as we all know, fast charging reduces the life of a battery. Now compare that with refuelling a conventional vehicle – you can do it as fast as you like (subject to diesel “frothing”), and as many times as you want, and still get out the same amount of energy as you put in…

    • Gamecock permalink
      February 22, 2021 10:29 pm

      Don’t discount how warm they will feel as their car charges. They’ll look around to see who is smiling at them.

    • February 22, 2021 10:36 pm

      And as you burn the fuel, the weight of it goes down and the vehicle becomes a bit lighter, unlike BEVs.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        February 23, 2021 10:11 am

        Yes exactly the reason why battery electric planes are never going to work. I read in one puff piece that electric aircraft being short haul could use more local (shorter) landing strips – clearly the author didn’t consider landing a “heavy” plane needs a longer strip.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      February 23, 2021 9:10 am

      The problem with EVs in a nutshell – the problem for 100 years or more. You can either wait for ages to charge your battery or you charge it quickly and gave to buy a new one sooner. Either have a much longer journey or a much shorter car life. Or use an ICE and avoid that choice.

  9. February 22, 2021 7:54 pm

    Here in Australia the price of petrol includes ~40% tax which electricity doesn’t have. Yet it’s already roughly equal cost to run an EV or an equivalent petrol car.

    Tesla increased their local fast charge fees by 20% in 2019 and another 24% in 2020. It’s now by far more expensive to run a Tesla than an equivalent petrol car, if you use the fast charger network. And that’s without road pricing, since the above tax on petrol is supposed to be for road maintenance.

    If the climate crazies get their way and ban ICE cars the electricity demand will lead to yet another huge increase in the cost of electricity.

    It will be interesting when the public start to realize just how expensive these Gaia-chariots will be to run. Then there’s the vastly expensive battery replacement issue which will really horrify them.

    • Rowland P permalink
      February 23, 2021 11:00 am

      EVs make no sense in Australia except in the urban setting. Useless if heading out into the bush.

  10. Gerry, England permalink
    February 22, 2021 9:07 pm

    Battery cars contain up to 80kg of copper as opposed to the 22kg in a normal car. Copper has hit $9000 a ton for the first time in 10 years. With more battery vehicles that should keep rising.

    • Gamecock permalink
      February 22, 2021 10:32 pm

      Damn! Thieves hit rural church air conditioners to get the copper. At $9000 a ton, they’ll start hitting residential A/Cs! With the people at home!

      • Gerry, England permalink
        February 23, 2021 10:40 am

        Back to stealing cabling from the railways again..unless the cable markers are an effective deterrent.

        I read somewhere that something like 95% of the copper mined – smelted I suppose – since 1900 is still in use. A large part of the missing is probably lying at the bottom of the sea in sunken ships.

  11. ianprsy permalink
    February 23, 2021 10:32 am

    Just came across this site: Looks a bit like Uswitch.

  12. Coeur de Lion permalink
    February 23, 2021 3:39 pm

    The Tories’ Red Wall is going to love this. Noticed elsewhere that EV mileage is well below ICE. Therefore we are looking at rich families with two cars and a garage charging point at c. 15p/kWh. Everyone else can trade in their banger and buy a Leaf at thirty grand and street charging. Noticed that battery life uncertainty contributes to linear depreciation of £5000 a year for a Leaf. (Check it out). A real bargain. I’m buying another Adblu Citroen diesel (£20p.a. Road tax) and bubblewrapping it for my senior grandchild. This disconnected rant reveals my loss of temper at all this bloody nonsense.

  13. Russ Wood permalink
    February 25, 2021 9:54 am

    Well, with the distances and state of the roads here in South Africa, BEVs will be limited to well-off commuters. Especially with the Eskom electricity utility load-shedding at next-to-no notice! But the manufacturers at least tried to sell. Last year, there was a BEV rally from Pretoria to Cape Town, a trip that takes a normal IC vehicle about two easy days. The organisers set up an array of charging points about 100-150 km apart, and the 15 cars set off with great fanfare. The last I heard of the rally, about 5 cars finally arrived in Cape Town 18 days after the start. The resulting publicity was (very small).

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