How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

As of May 2024, to charge a Vauxhall Corsa Electric with a 50kWh battery from 0-80% will on average cost £17.60 using a slow charger, £22 using a fast charger, £26.40 using a rapid charger and £28 using an ultra-rapid charger, according to the AA. These prices are based on average tariffs sourced by the AA of 44p, 55p, 66p and 70p per kWh respectively.

Meanwhile, some supermarkets also offer public charging, meaning you can shop while you charge. For example, Tesco has partnered with Pod Point to offer 7kW charging at 44p per kWh, 22kW at 49p per kWh, 50kW at 62p per kWh and 75kW at 69p per kWh.

Elsewhere, you can find DC rapid chargers at charging hubs and on A-roads and motorways. At these, leading provider InstaVolt, for example, charges 85p per kWh on its rapid charger tariff, making it considerably more expensive on a pence-per-mile basis than a petrol car. 

If you frequently travel long distances, providers such as BP Pulse offer a subscription service with a monthly fee of £7.85, giving you discounted rates (the brand estimates a 20% saving compared with pay as you go) on many of its 9000 chargers plus free access to a handful of AC units. 

You’ll need a smartphone app to access the cheaper rates (or an RFID card for some of the older units), but once connected, you will be billed at 44p on the AC 7kW charger, 63p per kWh on the rapid AC 43kW/DC 50kW​ chargers and 69p on the ultra-fast DC 150kW-plus chargers. It’s also possible to use many of the chargers on a pay-as-you-go basis with a contactless bank card at a rate of 59p per kWh for 7kW AC chargers, 79p per kWh for 50kW and 85p per kWh for the 150kW-plus chargers.

Through its Recharge UK network, Shell is rolling out rapid 50kW and ultra-rapid 175kW chargers at its filling stations across the UK. These can be used on a contactless pay-as-you-go basis at a flat rate of 85p and 93p per kWh respectively. Its AC fast 7-22kW charger rate is 79p and its 5kW rate 51p. 

These prices remain unchanged if you sign up to the Shell Recharge account, which bills you monthly for your use but also allows you to use more than 23,000 chargers operated by other providers in the UK on Shell forecourts, at supermarkets including Waitrose and Aldi and on-street, plus 575,000 across Europe. For these chargers, slightly different tariffs apply.  At all charge points, you can pay with either a Shell Recharge card or via a contactless payment method. It’s worth noting there’s a £45 pre-authorisation requirement on your card each time you plug in. Shell claims all electricity for its chargers comes from renewable sources. 

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