Electric car charging prices at public rapid chargers

Electric car charging prices at public rapid chargers
RAC Charge Watch logoCharge Watch is the RAC's initiative that monitors the average cost of charging an electric car ('EV') on a pay-as-you-go, non-subscription basis at a public rapid or ultra-rapid charger. It tracks price changes over time to make sure drivers get a fair deal.

More drivers than ever are looking to make the switch to electric vehicles in the run-up to the 2035 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans. Yet as many as one-in-three households are likely to be unable to charge an electric vehicle at home, meaning a large number of drivers will rely on using public chargers away from home. This is why having an affordable, reliable and fit-for-purpose network of chargers across the UK is so important.

The RAC has run Fuel Watch for many years to ensure drivers pay a fair price at the pumps. Charge Watch aims to do the same for drivers of electric cars who want to pay to use the fastest public charge points without a subscription, and without having to sign up to a particular operator. The RAC was also a founding supporter of the FairCharge campaign.

Average public charging costs for electric cars

The UK has a myriad of charging point operators which run chargers of differing speeds, from so-called 'fast' devices to 'ultra-rapid' devices which can deliver charges up to 350 kilowatts (kW). RAC Charge Watch focuses only on prices at rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, as increasingly these will be the chargers drivers rely on to complete long journeys or to run an EV if they aren't able to charge at home. The importance of rapid chargers was emphasised by the Government in April 2022 when it announced plans to ensure these chargers are working for drivers 99% of the time.

Charging prices have increased since September 2022, in line with the rise in wholesale electricity costs in the UK, although prices began to plateau through late 2023.

Below are the average costs as analysed by the RAC, in pence per kilowatt hour (ppkWh):

Average cost to charge an electric car from 10% to 80%

As manufacturers of electric cars only recommend rapid charging to 80% to maximise the charging rate and protect the health of the battery, RAC Charge Watch calculates the cost of charging from 10% to 80% (as it's highly unlikely a driver would arrive at a charger with a completely empty battery). While electric car battery sizes vary, we use a 64.8 kilowatt hour (kWh) battery for the basis for all cost calculations as it is an average of several popular family-sized models on sale in the UK today. Rapid charging a battery of this size from 10% to 80% requires 52kWh of electricity. At a price of 78.12p per kWh for a rapid charge, the cost of a 70% charge was around £40. This would give the driver a range of around 168 miles.

Below are the average costs since summer 2022:

Cost of running an electric car, versus a petrol or diesel car

To help put the cost of a rapid charge into context, we've calculated the average cost per mile of driving an electric car compared to a per-mile cost of driving a petrol or diesel car. Note, this is for comparison purposes only. We are aware that most drivers do not solely use rapid or ultra-rapid public chargers.

Electric car calculations are based on a car's assumed efficiency of 3.5 miles per kWh (as with miles per gallon in a petrol or diesel vehicle, an EV's efficiency is affected by a range of different factors including driving style). Petrol and diesel calculations are based on a car averaging 40 miles per gallon, equivalent to 8.81 miles per litre, with average per litre costs taken from RAC Fuel Watch.

Home charging costs are based on the Ofgem capped rates that apply to standard variable tariffs. EV drivers can take advantage of cheaper overnight charging with specialised tariffs from some suppliers.

What about the cost of charging up at home?

The cost of charging at home remains significantly cheaper than using a rapid or ultra-rapid public charger, even with high domestic energy prices.

As of June 2024, a driver fully charging an electric car with a 64kWh battery (from 0% to 100%) at home pays a maximum of £14.49, based on Ofgem's capped rates for standard variable domestic electricity tariffs. Some energy providers also have tariffs that offer lower overnight prices to help keep the cost of charging a car to a minimum.


FairCharge campaign logoAs well as taking the lead when it comes to supporting drivers in moving to electric vehicles, the RAC was a founding backer of the FairCharge campaign, led by transport campaigner and automotive journalist Quentin Willson. FairCharge exists to to speed up the switch to electric cars by removing many of the barriers currently facing drivers, and to push key EV issues to the forefront of the political agenda.

In September 2023, RAC and FairCharge launched the UK's first public electric vehicle charging charter, setting out expected standards for charging in order to give drivers - both today and in the future - the best possible experience. 

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