The average price of charging an electric car using a public rapid charge point has risen by more than a fifth since September, the RAC claims. The motoring organisation has started a new Charge Watch initiative to track the price of charging across the UK and inform consumers about the cost of topping up their electric car.

According to the data, the average price of charging on a pay-as-you go, non-subscription basis at a publicly accessible rapid charger in Great Britain has risen to 44.55p per kilowatt hour (kWh) since September. That’s an increase of 21 percent, or 7.81p per kWh, and it means the average cost of an 80-percent rapid charge for a 64 kWh battery has increased by £4 since September.

The Charge Watch figures also show it now costs an average of 10p per mile to charge at a rapid charger, up from 8p per mile last September. However, despite the increase, it’s still less than half the cost of filling a petrol-powered car, which now costs an average of 19p per mile – up from 15p per mile in September. Filling a diesel-powered car is even more expensive, with a cost per mile of almost 21p.

ubitricity charging point

That said, the cost of charging at the most powerful chargers with an output of 100 kW or more is higher, albeit still cheaper than filling up with fossil fuel. With an average price of 50.97p per kWh, charging a 64 kWh battery to 80 percent now costs £26.10. That’s £48 cheaper than filling a petrol-powered car to the same level, but a typical petrol car will cover more miles for that money.

According to the RAC, the price increases are explained by the rises in the cost of electricity, which has been driven by the rising price of gas. With a notable proportion of UK electricity generated by gas-fired power stations, a doubling in the cost of gas between September 2021 and the end of March 2022 saw electricity prices increase by 65 percent over the same period.

“Just as the price that drivers of petrol and diesel cars pay to fill up at the pumps is driven by fluctuations in the world oil price, those in electric cars are affected by gas and electricity prices,” said RAC spokesperson Simon Williams. “But while electric car drivers may not be immune from the rocketing price of wholesale energy – most notably gas, which in turn dictates the cost of electricity – there’s no doubting that charging an EV still represents excellent value for money compared to filling up a petrol or diesel car.

“Unsurprisingly, our analysis shows that the quickest places to charge are also the most expensive with ultra-rapid chargers costing on average 14 percent more to use than rapid chargers. For drivers in a hurry, or travelling a long distance, paying this premium might well be worth it with the very fastest chargers capable of almost completely replenishing an electric car’s battery in a matter of minutes.

“Having said that, the most affordable way of charging an electric car isn’t at a public charger – it’s from home, where overnight electricity rates can be much lower than their public charger counterparts.”

VW Golf GTE plug-in hybrid electric car charging in central London