EV charging costs soar

Monday, May 30, 2022 - 07:33
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The cost of rapidly charging an electric car has risen sharply as energy costs soar across the UK.

As many drivers are nervous about switching to an electric vehicle (EV), the last thing they want to see is the low battery light flashing mid-journey without access to an EV charging point.

Around 224,225 cars broke down between April 2018 and March 2019 in the UK, on motorways alone, so it’s always best to be prepared for a potential breakdown scenario.

Image: EDF Energy

So what if you do break down in an EV?

Below, Rhiannon Philps, personal finance expert at NerdWallet shares some insight into what electric drivers should do if they run out of power while driving.

“Running out of power in an EV is not the same as running out of petrol or diesel in a car with an internal combustion engine. The only option is to be taken to the nearest charger.

“Fortunately, you can push an EV if it breaks down, as the motor of an electric car engages when power is applied.

“When no power is applied, the motor is free to rotate and any rotation is sent backward to charge the batteries. However, pushing an electric car wouldn’t be any easier than pushing a regular petrol or diesel car, so it’s worth having a back-up plan just in case your EV stops working.

“It could be a good idea to take out roadside assistance, as a minimum, before setting off in your car. This is the most basic, and often cheapest breakdown cover, covering the cost of an emergency call-out to your broken down vehicle and a tow to a nearby garage if it needs further repairs. Other, more comprehensive breakdown policies offer further cover and could help you get to your chosen destination, for example.

“Many providers will cover EVs under their standard breakdown policies, so you shouldn’t need to pay any more than someone with a petrol or diesel vehicle.

“At last count, there were more than 20,000 EV public charging points in the UK and some EVs have a charging station locator in their onboard infotainment systems.

“You can also download a charging network app such as Zap-Map that locates stations nationwide. Using filters, you can then search for several different types of chargers.

“Most EVs are supplied with two cables for slow and fast AC charging; one with a three-pin plug and the other with a Type 2 connector charger-side, both fitted with a compatible connector for the car’s inlet port.

“Ideally, you want to find a fast AC charging point that should boost your battery with 60 to 80 miles of range in one hour.

“Whilst there can be other reasons why a vehicle may break down, it is important you know your mileage limit before you leave for a long journey to avoid future breakdown. Manufacturers will clearly state the EV’s estimated range, which should help you avoid getting caught with a dead battery.

“However, the actual range varies depending on several factors, including whether you run the car’s heater or air conditioner and how fast you drive. So if you are running low on battery, drive slower and turn off any features inside the car to keep hold of energy.”

EV subscription company elmo suggest not to be put off from switching to an EV, as it could still be cheaper than the alternatives. Electricity is not the only ‘fuel’ impacted by the energy crisis. Petrol and diesel prices at the pump are also at an all-time high, with diesel hitting highs of £1.80 a litre at the weekend. 

When you consider the total savings, plus the environmental price – it can still be a better decision for your pocket and the planet!

Some great advice for your readers:

  • EVs are generally cheaper to run than ICE (internal combustion engine) cars. This varies from car to car but with high petrol and diesel costs right now, running an EV can still be more cost-effective.  For example, it costs on average 3.5p per mile to run the Hyundai Kona Electric vs 14.8p per mile to run its petrol alternative (4)
  • EVs have fewer moving parts, with lower maintenance costs when compared to petrol or diesel.
  • EVs have several exemptions like road tax, congestion zone, ULEZ and parking in some areas.

For more information about EV running costs, head to this advice page here.

The bottom line is energy prices are at an all-time high, which can be worrying for EV drivers. However, when you consider all the associated costs, EV’s are still very much a viable option and remain cost-effective in the long term.

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