Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Cost of public EV charging increased in 2023, Zapmap data shows
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Cost of public EV charging increased in 2023, Zapmap data shows

Date: 16 February 2024   |   Author: Sean Keywood

The average cost of using the UK's public EV charging network increased by 11% during 2023, according to charger mapping service Zapmap.

According to the company's price index, which takes data from more than one million recorded charging sessions per month, the average cost of using rapid and ultra-rapid chargers - which account for the majority of public charging - went from 73p per kWh to 81p between December 2022 and December 2023, while the average cost of slow and fast charging went from 49p to 55p. 

Zapmap said there were two main factors behind the increase in rapid and ultra-rapid charging prices - consolidation between operators, which saw some significantly increasing prices, and a changing mix of charging, with more drivers opting for faster, but generally more expensive ultra-rapid chargers.

Zapmap said that consolidation at higher price points had occurred due to uncertainty over wholesale energy prices, and an increase in the costs of building and operating chargers, with one major factor said to be a change to the grid code that meant operators were having to absorb standing charges that were, in some cases, ten times what they were two years ago. At the same time, it said operators were facing increasing pressure to deliver a good return on investment.

Zapmap added that many EV drivers continued to mostly charge at home, and that these would at most pay around 28p/kWh in line with the energy price cap, and may even pay less thanks to off-peak tariffs or solar panel installations.

According to Zapmap, an EV that was 80% charged at home in January this year would cost 7p per mile to run, compared with 11p per mile for an EV that was 50% home-charged, and 18p per mile for one run with 80% public charging. By comparison, a typical fuelling cost for a petrol or diesel car was given as 15p per mile.

Zapmap head of insights Jade Edwards said: "We know that 2023 was a very good year for EV charging, with record growth across the board and especially good progress for ultra-rapid infrastructure in the UK. So it's really interesting to see from these figures how EV charging prices changed last year, in line with the more than 100% growth in ultra-rapid devices being installed across the country.

"Although 2023 saw some charge point operators increase their prices to move more in line with the market, the changing mix of public charging options and the shift in use from rapid to ultra-rapid devices is also a contributing factor. 

"This is particularly significant because we know that electric car drivers were less likely to seek out a cheaper alternative to refuel than when driving a petrol or diesel car."

Zapmap COO and co-founder Melanie Shufflebotham said that with continued uncertainty over wholesale energy prices and other cost pressures, EV drivers should not expect public charging prices to come down in the near future.

However, she added: "Looking to the future, there are reasons to be positive. There is continued pressure on the government to equalise the VAT levels between domestic and public charging at 5%. FairCharge is campaigning hard on this and the recent recommendations from the House of Lords also state that the government should act on this.

"In addition, the industry is working both to look at the standing charges and to see if they can get electricity within the government's Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation.

"In the here and now, most electric car drivers continue to experience lower costs than driving an equivalent petrol or diesel car."