Guide | Article

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

029 Mar 2023

The amount you pay can vary according to a range of factors, including where you charge, and your vehicle type

New to electric vehicles (EV)? Or thinking about making the switch? One common question is how much it will cost to charge an electric vehicleboth at home, or on the road. While costs will ultimately be determined by your chosen electricity provider, the selected charging point, type of vehicle, usage and so on, it can be helpful to gauge what costs might look like when charging in different locations.

What is the cost of charging on the go?

Charging on the go varies in price, depending on a variety of factors, such as your preferred charging method, or charging provider. Charging with the bp pulse on-the-go network gives you access to one of the UK’s largest charging networks, including rapid and ultra-fast EV charging points. Drivers who use the bp pulse network can choose how to pay, with four options available:

  • Subscribers: access our lowest on-the-go prices when you download the bp pulse app, register, and subscribe. A full bp pulse subscription costs £7.85 inc. VAT per month, and gives you access to our lowest on-the-go charging rates. Subscribers pay £0.69/kWh when using our DC150kW charging points, £0.63/kWh when using our AC43kW or DC50kW charging points, or £0.44/kWh when charging with our AC7kW charging points. Plus, when you subscribe, you'll receive a handy bp pulse card, to start and end charges, in addition to getting your first month's subscription fee for free, and receiving £9 charging credit over 5 months—or a total of £45*. Find out more about full membership, or see full terms and conditions.

  • Pay-as-you-go: alternatively, download the bp pulse app and access our network using pay-as-you-go. Simply add a minimum of £5 credit to your account to start charging. You can then top up when you choose. Pay-as-you-go rates are: £0.83/kWh when using our DC150kW charging points, £0.77/kWh when using our AC43kW or DC50kW charging points, or £0.59/kWh when charging with our AC7kW charging points

  • Contactless: charging with our 50kW or 150kW units? Select ‘guest’ when charging to pay with Apple Pay, Google Pay, or via contactless bank card. Contactless rates are £0.85/kWh when using our DC150kW charging points or £0.79/kWh when using our AC43kW or DC50kW charging points. Contactless isn't available on our 7kW charging points.

  • Guest charging: for a completely anonymous charge, click here to use our live map to find a charger. Guest rates are: £0.85/kWh when using our DC150kW charging points, £0.79/kWh when using our AC43kW or DC50kW charging points, or £0.59/kWh when charging with our AC7kW charging points.

Find a charger near you

See how much it costs to charge your electric car using the live map in our bp pulse app. Download now to enjoy the best on the go charging experience.

What is the cost of charging an electric vehicle at home?

The costs of charging an EV in a private property (e.g., at home) varies, depending on factors such as your energy provider and tariffs, vehicle battery size and capacity, type of home charge in place and so on. The typical household in the UK paying direct debit has unit rates for electricity around 34p per kWh. The average EV battery capacity in the UK is around 40kWh. At average unit rates, charging a vehicle with this battery capacity could cost around £10.88 (based on charging to 80% of battery capacity, which most manufacturers recommend for daily charging to extend the life of a battery).

However, some cars have much bigger battery capacity, and a full charge will, therefore, be more expensive. Fully charging a car with 100kWh capacity, for example, could cost around £27.20 at average unit rates. Tariffs can vary, and some electricity providers might include variable tariffs, such as cheaper charging at less busy times of the day. The figures here are merely an example of potential costs; you should consult your electricity provider to determine prices for you.

Where can you charge an electric vehicle for free?

It may be possible to access EV charging for free at some locations. Some supermarkets, including Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Lidl and shopping centres offer EV charging for free but this may be available to customers only.

Workplaces are increasingly installing charging points that can be used by employees throughout the working day, and depending on your employer, there may or may not be costs associated with these chargers. Presently, there is a UK government grant available called the Workplace Charging Scheme to encourage workplaces - including charities and public sector organisations - to install charging infrastructure to support employees. The funding can be applied for online and is awarded in the form of vouchers.

The cost of charging an EV will vary depending on various factors such as the vehicle battery size, energy provider, tariffs, and location. It is worth exploring the different options available and checking with your energy provider to optimise your EV charging experience.

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  1. * When you download the bp pulse app and register and upgrade to a full bp pulse membership subscription (£7.85 inc VAT per month), we’ll give you your first month’s subscription free, plus a £9 charging credit each month for the following 5 months. Total of £45 credit is only valid if you remain a full member for 6 months from registration. Further terms and conditions apply: