Rapid charging, a crucial element of EV ownership for drivers looking to cover long distances, has changed significantly in the UK over recent years, not only with the welcome increase in provision of chargers but also in terms of pricing levels and structure.
To supplement Zap-Map’s recent analysis of the UK rapid charging network, and with forthcoming legislation set to mandate networks to provide a PAYG access option, Zap-Map has taken a look at the PAYG cost to charge on some of the main rapid charging networks.
In parallel, we have recently released a Public Charging Calculator which you can customise to find the cost and time to charge a selected electric vehicle in different scenarios.
The below table shows PAYG pricing for the key UK networks that offer rapid charging. For further explanation please see the notes section.
Of the above networks, Ecotricity the pioneer in rapid charging, and newcomers InstaVolt, Engenie and Shell Recharge, focus on rapid charging, whilst GeniePoint and Polar also provide a broader range of charging options for their customers.
Three of the six networks referenced, now offer contactless card payment, which, as it requires no additional cards or apps, is popular with EV drivers. However, as only a small proportion of Polar rapids are currently contactless, the majority of rapid chargers still need some form of network app or card to access.
As the market has developed, it is noticeable that rapid charging is now predominantly charged on a p/kWh basis rather than a fixed cost or per period rate and it looks like the market rate is settling around 25-30p/kWh – this is in comparison to an average domestic electricity price of 14p/kWh.
The above snapshot of PAYG rapid pricing across the UK aims to provide guidance on rapid pricing to expect when out and about. To find a more personalised cost and time to charge an electric vehicle on the public network, Zap-Map has developed a new tool – Public Charging Calculator.
Public charging calculator
The screenshot above shows an example of charging a Nissan Leaf on a public charger from 20% to 80% at a flat cost of 30p/kWh. Based on these inputs, the estimated charging time is just under half an hour and the cost per mile is 6.4p.
Within the calculator the user can vary vehicle, on-board charger option, cost, expected real range and starting / ending charge state to provide more tailored costs and time to charge on the public network.
In addition to looking at Public Charging , EV drivers may also be interested to calculate time and cost to Home Charge or to compare Journey Costs between a plug-in car and an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle.
Where possible, costs per kWh for a charge using a contactless bank card have been used for ease of comparison. It is also the most open method of access available for any customer to use.
Polar’s PAYG tariff is taken from its Polar Instant rate. There are contactless-enabled Polar chargers, costing 20-22 p/kWh but they represent a small proportion of the network and are largely in London. Many EV drivers accessing Polar points will be Polar plus members (monthly subscription of £7.85 and then 10.8 p/kWh).
Ecotricity’s Electric Highway offers half price charging costs – at 15 p/kWh – for Ecotricity energy customers.
Whilst Shell Recharge currently offer a competitive 24p/kWh price, there is a planned increase in pricing to 49 p/kWh at the end of June. Additionally EV drivers can benefit from temporary free vend set-ups from InstaVolt and Engenie; networks often set their chargers to free vend while development work is being carried out.
Not all networks which provide rapid charging have been included in the comparison. Tesla’s rapid points have been excluded as they are only able to be used by Tesla drivers. Charge Your Car has a large number of rapid chargers, however the pricing is set at a local level by each sub-network and so varies greatly for the purposes of rapid network comparison. Regionally based ChargePlace Scotland and ecarni network (Northern Ireland) provide rapid chargers within their network and they are typically free to use. EV drivers also appreciate Pod Point’s free charging at rapids located at selected Lidls.