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Will an electric car cause my home energy bills to rocket?

Charging your electric car at home is one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to keep the battery pack topped up. Arrive home from work, plug it in, then wake up to a fully charged car in the morning.

The problem is, your domestic energy bills will increase. This is understandable, given you’re essentially transferring electricity from the home to the car.

However, this needn’t mean your energy bills will skyrocket. Spend a little time shopping around to find the cheapest tariff and you could enjoy reduced running costs on the road, without worrying about the impact on the household budget.

The Energy Saving Trust says you can save more £300 by switching to the cheapest fixed-rate energy tariff. This works out at around 7,000 ‘free’ electric miles per year.

As pointed out by Electric Nation, annual electricity consumption varies widely and is influenced by battery size. In a trial, it found that average energy use for an electric car with a smaller battery (up to 25kWh) is about 1,800 to 1,900kWh per year.

For a larger battery (35kWh+), it’s about 3,500kWh. Annual household consumption (without an electric car) ranges from 1,900kWh to 4,600kWh per year, so every car charging at home is equivalent to another house.

Honda e charging at home

Given that 87 percent of charging is done at home, finding the cheapest tariff is a critical part of electric car ownership. Let’s also remember that it still costs less to run an electric vehicle than a petrol or diesel car – and you’re not exposed to fluctuations in the cost of fuel.

Electric car energy tariffs

The big energy firms offer energy tariffs designed for electric cars, with each powered by 100 percent renewable electricity. Here are some examples of the tariffs available at the time of writing (April 2020):

EDF Energy GoElectric

EDF claims you could save up to £310 a year with its GoElectric single-rate electric car tariff. Power comes from 100 percent renewable resources and you can charge your car whenever you want – the cost is the same at any time of day.

Unit rates range from 11.54p per kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy in London, to 12.51p in the South West of England. This is in addition to a daily standing charge of 27.13p to 30.98p, depending on location.

Lease an electric car via EDF and you can get 5,000 miles of free credit, which is the equivalent of £114 in cash.

British Gas Electric Drivers Energy Plan

The British Gas tariff provides cheaper off-peak electricity between 12am and 5am, so it makes sense to charge your electric car overnight. British Gas says electric car owners typically charge their vehicles about three times a week during off-peak hours, and twice a fortnight during peak hours, using 10kWh of electricity at a time.

Eon Fix and Drive

Eon’s electric car tariff provides a fixed rate for two years, along with the equivalent of 850 miles (£30) of free electricity. A smart meter must be installed.

OVO Energy

The OVO Energy EV Everywhere tariff comes with free Polar Plus membership, which is worth £188 over two years. Once again, the power is sourced from 100 percent renewable electricity, and the rate is fixed for two years. 

Smart energy meter

These are just four examples. You can search online for others, or use the Citizens Advice energy comparison site for other tariffs.

The fact is, you will pay more for your electricity by charging an electric car at home, but the cost will be offset in other ways. For example, OVO found its drivers in a diesel van pay £150 in fuel to drive the same distance as those with electric vans paying just £30 in electricity.

Remember that every time you pass a filling station.

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