The Cost of Electricity for an EV

Free EV charging
Free Charging at Ocean Retail Park

Two weeks of running my 30kW Nissan Leaf as a driving school car I’ve got a reasonable idea of the cost of electricity for an EV. I’m using public charging and relying mainly on rapid charging until the roadside chargers are installed by Portsmouth City Council. While a lot of my motivation to run an EV is environmental there has to be a cost saving to make it worthwhile.

In the first two weeks of ownership I’ve done a 137 mile Journey on motorways and dual carriageway, a few local trips with a majority of use being driving lessons. There were two rapid charges on the long trip which were high priced electricity and the rest using Polar chargers in the city.

Electricity Costs

  • Polar £13.55
  • Ecotricity £3.66
  • Genie Point £7.28
  • Total £24.49
  • Total Miles 623
  • Pence per mile 3.93

The Ecotricity and Genie Point were relatively expensive single charges at 30p per kWh for the Ecotricity and 20.945p per kWh for the Genie Point with an additional £1.00 connection charge. They were, however, based on main highways and an essential facility for a long drive. The Polar charger is a local rapid and this is multiple charges at 10.8p per kWh.

As a comparison with a car doing 50 miles per gallon, 50 miles of electricity has cost £1.96 comparing with a Gallon of petrol currently about £5.40. Or looking at it another way it’s equivalent to 137 miles a gallon. A significant saving even relying on the public charging network. If you have off street parking and an economy 7 electricity tariff these costs could be even less.

All of the energy used has been from green sources according to the suppliers websites which means that total emissions for the 623 miles has been zero. A very small contribution to help slow climate change and improve the air quality in Portsmouth and Southsea.

Free Fuel

Since I compiled these figures I’ve also used a couple of destination chargers. These are slower chargers based at retail destinations. One at Ocean Retail Park in Portsmouth where I spent half an hour in the shops and plugged the car in resulting in 15 miles of free fuel. The second at West Quays in Southampton. A shopping trip to Ikea resulted in a few hours parking. Plugging into the free charger took the battery from 55% to 98% and parking cost £3.20 which I would have paid for in a fossil fuelled car anyway.

I’m presuming these chargers are free as an incentive to attract people to shop there. Whether we have to pay for them in the future remains to be seen. The charging units at West Quays are very simple with a mechanical on and off switch rather than starting with an app or contactless card. They would all need upgrading to be able to charge for electricity.

Even relying on public charging I can see the Leaf is going to be significantly less expensive to run than a fossil fuelled car over an annual 20,000 miles. The  roadside charging points Portsmouth City Council are installing will make life a lot more convenient than using the rapid charger. Slower lower rate charging will be kinder to the battery long term as well.