The price to charge an electric vehicle (EV) on the public charging network can vary substantially, and prices are increasing due to current issues in the energy market.
Through the data collected to drive the Zapmap app, Zapmap tracks over 700,000 charge sessions each month and the latest charge point operator prices to provide an independent picture of the price paid by EV drivers across the public charging network. Updated on a monthly basis, the Zapmap Price Index shows the difference in prices paid depending on the type of charger and will also track how this is changing over time.
What is the average price of charging an electric car on the public charging network?
The weighted average price* to charge an electric car on the public charging network in October 2023 was 55p/kWh on slow/fast chargers and 79p/kWh for rapid/ultra-rapid chargers.
Using an average efficiency EV* this equates to 15 pence per mile and 21 pence per mile respectively.
Across the UK, charge point operators offer a headline “pay as you go” (PAYG) price, which is the price that EV drivers can pay without a membership or a special deal.
The latest PAYG price for the top 10 rapid/ultra-rapid charge point operators can be seen on our rapid/ultra-rapid pricing page.
Prices for other charge point operators can be seen in our public charging network guides.
How are prices to charge an electric car changing over time?
Surging energy prices have resulted in increases across both slow/fast charge points - typically on-street chargers or destination chargers - as well as rapid/ultra-rapid EV charge points typically used for en-route charging.
Zapmap analysis shows that after a period of rising prices, it now costs an average of 20% more to charge at a rapid/ultra-rapid device, compared to October 2022.
The price per kWh at fast/slow devices has increased by 16% over the same period.
The chart below shows how the prices have changed over the last 12 months.
How do electric car charging costs compare to refuelling a petrol or diesel car?
Despite the increase in public EV charging prices over the last year, electric car drivers are mostly still in a better position than ICE drivers who have to fill up at the pumps. Typically, an EV driver will only charge on the most expensive rapid or ultra-rapid chargers for a fraction of the time.
Many EV drivers charge at home for most of their energy needs, with the energy price cap currently sitting at around 27p/kWh, and might also have the option to install solar panels, or take advantage of a lower price off-peak tariff and so reduce the cost of charging their EV further.
The infographic below looks at how charging costs may differ with three different EV driver profiles.
The first, John and Rosa who primarily charge their EV at home; the second, Michael and Marie who do about half of their charging at home, but do top-ups when the go to the supermarket and charge up at motorway service stations when on longer journeys; and the third, Kris who is entirely reliant on public charging. He is able to use a slow lamppost charger to charge on most days, but when he’s on longer road trips visiting relatives he uses rapid chargers at a charging hub.
Most of the drivers in the above profiles enjoy savings from driving their EV compared to ICE vehicles. John and Rosa save approximately £600, whereas Michael and Marie save £350 per year compared to refuelling an ICE vehicle. While Kris doesn't currently save on charging his EV versus refuelling the equivalent petrol car, he does benefit from savings on car tax, servicing and maintenance costs. See more about the other benefits of driving an electric car here.
Overall, although the price of charging at the most expensive ultra-rapid chargers is closest to parity with refuelling an ICE vehicle, most EV drivers use a mix of charging as above. An electric car remains a good choice for low running costs during these uncertain times, and is of course far better for the environment in terms of its impact on climate change and air quality.
Using the Journey Cost Calculator, Home Charging Calculator or Public Charging Cost Calculator, you can compare the cost of refuelling a petrol or diesel vehicle with the cost of charging an EV at home or in public, allowing you to see how much you could save between different vehicles on specific journeys.
Please note that third parties can use this data provided the source is clearly attributed to Zapmap, any graphs include the Zapmap logo, and a link is added back to www.zap-map.com in the body of the article. The data must be strictly copied and updated manually, no automated data collection can be applied in any form. The data can only be published in its original state and without any modifications.