Homeowners without a driveway or garage can expect EV charging costs to be almost £1000 a year higher

Homeowners without a driveway or garage can expect EV charging costs to be almost £1000 a year higher
Drivers face paying nearly £1,000 more a year to charge an electric car (EV) on the public network compared to doing so at home, according to a new study.

The study, by electric car website Electrifying.com, found that UK motorists who are reliant on public infrastructure to charge their vehicles will be paying around £91.75 a month, compared to those who have off-street parking who pay around £13.75 over the same time period.

This means that the average UK EV driver would pay around £78 a month more than those who have access to a charger at home – a total of £936 extra a year – and highlights some of the cost challenges facing those who rely on charging at public charge points.  

Drivers with access to their own charge point at home can also take advantage of cheaper overnight tariffs, saving themselves money on every charge.

RAC backs major new campaign to speed up switch to EVs and reduce cost of public charging

Earlier this year, the RAC backed a major national campaign to speed up the switch to electric cars by removing many of the barriers currently facing drivers – including those who are unable to charge at home.

FairCharge, which has been set up to ensure the environmental, economic and social benefits of the electric car revolution are properly harnessed, is pushing key EV issues to the forefront of the political agenda including the cost, availability and speed of charging as well as battery range and the affordability of switching to an electric car.

One of the main goals of the campaign is to tackle the current illogical VAT policy where EV owners who can’t charge at home pay four times more tax for their electricity from public on-street networks.

Currently, VAT on domestic electricity is charged at 5% whereas those using public charge points unfairly have to pay 20% VAT. FairCharge and the RAC believe this is an unnecessary barrier to switching to an electric car for the estimated 38% of people who aren’t able to charge an EV at home and have no choice but to rely on the public charging network.

FairCharge will also campaign to ensure electricity at public charge points is priced fairly. This will help those needing to recharge on longer journeys and will avoid further penalising those who don’t have access to home charging.

There will also be scrutiny of charging providers’ domestic and public charging tariffs, without which there’s a risk that charging an EV on some public networks could become as expensive as filling up with petrol or diesel, undermining the speed of drivers switching to zero-emission vehicles.

Findings from research for the RAC Report on Motoring 2021 support many of the aims of the FairCharge campaign. The report revealed that 38% of UK drivers say they would not be able to charge at home

RAC director of EVs Sarah Winward-Kotecha said: “The UK’s journey to zero-emission driving is now well underway, but it’s vital that the switch to electric happens as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“There are many issues with public chargers such as cost, availability, reliability, speed of charging and ease of payment, which have the potential to either accelerate or slow down EV adoption depending on how they are handled. Our decision to support FairCharge is all about making sure that charging provision in all shapes and forms is both fit for purpose and fair.”

Government response

Despite the effort of the RAC and FairCharge, the government rejected the request at the end of March.

Exchequer Secretary at the House of Commons Helen Whately said: “The Government has not specifically introduced a reduced rate for charging EVs at home. Applying the reduced rate of VAT to electricity supplied at EV charging points in public places would come at a cost.

“VAT makes a significant contribution towards the public finances, raising around £130 billion in 2019/20, and helps fund the Government’s priorities including the NHS, schools and defence.

“Any loss in tax revenue would have to be balanced by a reduction in public spending, increased borrowing or increased taxation elsewhere. The Government has no current plans to review the current rate of VAT applied to EV charging.”

The RAC will continue to help fight for a solution for EV drivers looking for fairer costs for their EVs, and encourage the government to again look at this issue.

Do you own an electric car? How do you rate the UK’s current EV infrastructure and are there any changes you would like to see happen in the future? Comment below.

If you are looking to buy an electric car, then you could end up paying more than you need to by sticking with the same home electricity tariff.

Here at the RAC, we’ve teamed up with British Gas to create an electricity tariff that saves you money, with cheaper overnight charging for your electric car. Learn more here.

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