Charging an electric car at home? We've put together a list of the best electric car (EV) tariffs on offer from energy companies like E.On, British Gas, EDF, Scottish Power, as well as smaller challengers like Bulb, Ovo and Octopus Energy.
These smart 'time-of-use' tariffs for your electric car mean you pay less, and reduce the carbon behind each mile you drive. If you pick the best tariff for your car and home use, you could even end up paying less than you did before you got that EV!
We've listed them based on the cheapest off-peak rate, but remember that you also have to think about the day (or peak) rates and the standing charge. You also have to think about the value of any extras you’ll benefit from, like public charging or discounts on home charge points.
To calculate the best tariff for you, use our free online time-of-use and EV tariff energy cost tool.
147 hours off-peak/week
Note: these prices have come either directly from the energy supplier’s website, or have been obtained by contacting the energy supplier directly. In order to get prices, we had to provide an address. As a result, these prices are correct for a medium family home in Wales. Your prices and quotes may differ slightly.
For this list, we’ve assumed monthly direct debit payments and paperless bills. If you choose to pay quarterly or annually, or you have paper bills, some of these prices may change. Where you live will also mean you might be charged slightly different rates.
All EV energy tariffs in the UK guarantee 100% renewable energy, although the way in which they back this promise does vary.
The star ratings given to each supplier are based on customer service, as measured by the Citizen's Advice Bureau.
What's the best EV energy tariff for my use?
An EV adds around a month's electricity use (250 kWh) for every 1,000 miles you drive. An average UK driver doing 8,000 miles would add around £30/month to their electricity bill by charging an electric car without switching tariff.
While the headline rates can be quite appealing, remember that these EV tariffs might not always offer the best value if you have higher home use - especially if you're not doing very high mileage in your electric car. Before you switch, try our energy comparison tool to check the biggest savings you could make from all the tariffs that offer off-peak hours.
Some of these tariffs are compatible with economy 7 and 10 meters - but if you can, the chance of an off-peak charging rate is a good reason to speak to your utility about getting a smart meter installed.
The future of energy is 'time of use'
Our list includes the first dynamic tariff on the market - Octopus Energy's Agile tariff. Here the price per kWh is based on the expected national levels of demand and on supply of electricity from renewable sources. A price for every half an hour is set at 4pm for the next 24 hours.
Octopus Agile charges more for energy consumed in the normal peak hours of 4-7pm - to encourage a flattening out of the usual evening spike in daily demand. If you delay setting off your dishwasher, or plugging in your EV until the price dips, you'll be saving money and minimising your carbon footprint too. This is because the price is a good indicator of the carbon-intensity of the electricity you are consuming. Lowest prices mean supply from solar and wind is greater than expected demand.
And the best bit? When renewables are producing the most, the Octopus Agile price drops below zero - meaning you get paid for every unit of electricity you consume.
How to choose the best EV tariff
Choosing between the tariffs becomes difficult because of the specific benefits that utilities bundle in to their EV tariffs.
Several companies offer 'free miles' when you plug in overnight. But don't forget to look at the rates they give you for electricity at any other time of the day, and the standing charge. Depending on your home use and how much you actually plug your EV in at night, you might end up paying more!
Some, like Ovo Energy, offer a free or discounted charger installed at your home. This might suit you if you are considering buying your first an electric vehicle, but the unit rates might not stack up if you are already set up to charge at home.
Many companies offer you free membership to a nationwide network of road chargers, or a discount on roadside prices. Unless you can't charge at home, or are regularly doing very long journeys, you might find it more convenient to charge overnight at home.
Electric cars, Economy 7 and Economy 10 meters
Most electricity suppliers will require you to fit a smart meter to your property before you can switch to one of their EV tariffs. They will generally do this for free. However, if you can't do this yet (generally because of lack of mobile phone coverage these meters need) it’s also worth looking into having an Economy 7 or Economy 10 meter fitted to your property. This is what will allow you to take advantage of cheaper rates at off-peak times. The majority of energy suppliers offer this feature, and it’s certainly worth doing if you plan to plug your car in overnight.
Economy 7 and 10 meters will track daytime and nighttime use separately. Economy 7 meters are named as such because there are usually 7 hours off-peak or night time where the cheaper rates apply. This can be between 11pm - 6am, 12pm - 7am or other variations, but they all generally take effect overnight. As you might expect, Economy 10 meters offer 10 hours of off-peak time, usually split between the overnight hours and other times of low usage such as in the afternoon. Not all EV tariffs will work with an Economy 10 meter, so make sure you check with your supplier if you want to utilise one.
How much does an electric car increase your electricity bill?
While running costs for electric cars are much lower, you will find that because you’re charging your car at home your home electricity consumption will increase considerably. Most people nearly double their use with home charging. As a result, if you do nothing, so will your bill.
If you are charging an EV at home, it is recommended to install a home EV charger. You can get government grants for this, and some utility companies will install one for you for free or at a discounted cost. After the government discount, a home charger will set you back a few hundred pounds.
All electric cars are exempt from road tax. For a petrol or diesel car this road tax could be anywhere from £10 per year to over £2,000, so you could realise a pretty significant yearly saving on this alone.
There are other cost savings to be made - for example, electric cars are exempt from the London Ultra Low Emission Zone, meaning that if you live in London, you won’t have to pay the congestion levy. Other cities are following suit, with charges and even bans on certain cars entering.
For more information on this, you might want to check out our article “How much does an electric car cost to run?”
Why not get a complete picture of the difference you can make with clean home energy? Our clever EV and home energy assessment works out if solar would pay back on your roof, whether home storage makes sense for you, or simply finds the best energy tariff for your home and EV charging.