No petrol or diesel to pay for, zero road tax, lower servicing costs - driving an electric car undoubtedly lowers the cost of motoring. However, you do need to charge an electric vehicle (EV), and this can add significantly to your home energy bill.
A few years ago, the best way to save money on electric vehicle charging at home was by switching to an Economy 7 or Economy 10 tariff, and charging overnight when electricity was cheapest. Today, many suppliers offer special electric vehicle tariffs (EV tariffs), to make it cheaper to top up your battery when demand is lower.
How to pick the best EV tariff for you
Don’t be fooled by a cheap off-peak rate. The EV tariff with the lowest rate is not always the cheapest option, as sometimes the standing charge and day rates are higher than you’d normally expect to pay. Depending on your overall energy use, especially if you have electric heating, are shift-working or have more than one electric car, you might even find that a single price tariff could work out to be cheaper.
Split your fuels. Think about splitting your gas and electricity supply (Check first that your chosen utility will allow this, some will only put you on an EV tariff if you take your gas there too).
Be realistic about your home use. The average home uses 1.5 times the electricity that you would use to charge a car doing an average mileage. How much of your home use could you really switch by delaying start times? Energy companies calculate that you’ll shift as much as 66% into the off-peak, but that still leaves you paying for 34% of your use in the pricier day rates.
Could you generate? With an EV to charge, maybe now is the time to start thinking about solar on your roof or maybe even a home battery on your wall. You can find out your likely payback for solar or battery using our free, online green energy assessment.
Find an energy tariff that fitsCheck your EV tariff match
Use delaying tactics. Find the time delay button on your washing machine and dishwasher. Almost all modern machines have a delay function. Once you have found the button, press it repeatedly to increase the time your machine will wait before it starts. Don’t forget to press start when you’ve reached the correct time delay!
Don’t be afraid to go with a non-EV tariff. Some no-frills retailers, like Symbio, offer very cheap Economy 7 rates that might work better for you, especially if you need more than 5 hours to charge overnight.
Ask how green your energy is. Although all the EV tariffs say they are 100% green energy, there is a big difference to how much they are supporting renewables in the UK. If you want to know more, green energy pioneers Good Energy have a helpful blog on what it really means to be green. Read more about green energy.
Find an app to help. If you are thinking about a dynamic tariff like Agile, download the Octopus Watch app. This will keep an eye on the prices and tell you the cheapest times to use electricity in the next 24 hours.
You can save in other ways too See our article on ways to save money on home charging for our tips to get the most out of each kWh.
The good news is that many EV tariffs don’t have exit fees, so you can move if your use changes without too many problems. The exceptions are where free memberships or chargers are included.