Power price cap adds £165 to electric car charge

*** UPDATE: The new Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) announced on 8th September will replace the previously announced price cap of £3549/52 pence per kWh. The EPG means that electric cars will continue to be cheaper to fuel than gasoline and diesel equivalents. As of October 1, we have updated all story figures to reflect the EPG.***

The cost of charging an electric car at home will increase on October 1, although not as significantly as originally thought.

From 1st October, for customers paying variable rates by direct debit in England, Scotland and Wales, unit rates and standing charges will be around 34p per kWh with a standing charge of 46p per day.

This is an increase on the current average unit of 28 pence per kWh, but far less than the initial price cap announced in August of £3,549, or 52 pence per kWh.

If people had paid 52 pence per kWh, it would have meant that more than half of the electric cars we tested would be more expensive to charge with electricity at home (on a variable rate) compared to using diesel in a car from the Same size.

The updated Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) corrects that situation. With an average electricity rate of 34 pence per kWh, electric vehicles will continue to save huge amounts of money on fuel bills compared to gasoline and diesel powered cars.

However, those who are not lucky enough to be able to charge from home, or rely heavily on the public electric vehicle charging network, will often pay more than petrol/diesel cars.


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What is the Guaranteed Energy Price and how does it affect me?

On 9 September, the government announced a new £2,500 two-year Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) for a “typical household” paying by direct debit, replacing the £3,549 price cap that was due to come into effect. Since the 1st of october.

However, the limit is on the price of a single unit of energy, not on your total bill. What you actually pay personally will depend on how much you use. Understanding unit rates is a clearer way to understand what EPG means for your bills.

Find out more about the EPG and how your household bills will change by going to our Guide and EPG tool.

Buy electric? Miles per kWh is key

In the world of internal combustion, most people would naturally expect a small, low-powered city car to cost much less than a huge four-wheel-drive SUV with a powerful engine.

The same goes for electric cars, and an efficient EV can save you hundreds of pounds per year compared to those that need more power.

But while the economy of a combustion-powered car is indicated by its average MPG (miles per gallon), the energy consumption of an electric car is measured in miles per kWh (mi/kWh), that is, how many miles it travels per every kWh you have in your battery.*

And the same generalizations still hold true: Smaller, lighter electric cars are, on average, cheaper than full-size SUVs and minivans. Our table below shows how the size of a car has an effect on the amount of power the car needs to run and the subsequent cost of charging it from home.

*The figures are shown with two decimal places to facilitate reading

**8,100 miles is the average annual mileage as reported by consumers in our 2022 car survey

DS3 e-tense racerback

Electric cars are no longer more expensive than diesel

If the planned 52p kWh price cap had gone ahead, there would have been a number of car classes where it would have been cheaper to fill a car with diesel compared to charging an electric EV at home.

However, now that the EPG replaces the cap, electric cars in all classes will still be cheaper than diesels, as our table shows:

*The figures are shown with two decimal places to facilitate reading

**8,100 miles is the average annual mileage as reported by consumers in our 2022 car survey

***Cost per liter taken from RAC Fuel Watch on August 26.

Taking midsize cars as an example (think cars like the VW Id.3 or Ford Focus), the average midsize electric car would have been £158 more expensive than the same size diesel car capped at 52p per kWh But the EPG means you’ll still save more than £300 a year compared to diesel, ensuring electric vehicles remain less fuel-efficient, at least at home.

Fast public recharging continues to exceed the costs of gasoline and diesel

Prior to the price cap news, several charging point operators, also facing the same unprecedented rise in energy costs, raised their prices or announced that they were about to do so.

Some networks that provide “fast” charging, which use high-power chargers (50-350kW) to charge a car as quickly as possible, charge upwards of 60p per kWh.

Depending on the car, our research shows that if you’re paying more than 47 pence per kWh, you’re paying more than you would for an equivalent petrol or diesel car. So, at more than 60 pence per kWh, you could be paying a lot more to charge your car with electricity than you would to run a car of the same size on diesel or petrol.

One of the reasons why prices are so much higher away from home is that electricity at home is subject to 5% VAT, while public charging networks have to charge 20% VAT.

Popular network Instavolt raised the prices of its fast chargers to 66 pence a kWh from August 15, but says that if they could charge 5% VAT, that would cost 58 pence a kWh.

The VAT rate does not depend on the recharging point operator. The government would have to decide to lower VAT to 5%, but previously ruled it out.

Fiat 500e Convertible (2020-)

fiat 500e
  • Class: City car
  • Equivalent power: 118hp
  • Battery capacity: 37.3kWh
  • Efficiency in what tests: 3.58mi/kWh
  • Cost of recharging at home (new price cap – 34 pence per kWh): 9.5 pence per mile
  • Public charging cost (55 pence per kWh): 15.4 pence per mile
  • Cost of running an equivalent size petrol car: 15.6 pence per mile
  • Cost of public charging (60 pence per kWh): 16.8 pence per mile
  • Cost of public charging (65 pence per kWh): 18.2 per mile

The Fiat 500e cabriolet isn’t without its compromises, but it’s one of the most efficient electric cars we’ve tested.

Find out what the commitments are by reading Fiat 500e Cabriolet (2020-) Review.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 (2021-)

hyundau ioniq5
  • Class: Big car
  • Equivalent power: 217hp
  • Battery capacity: 72.6kWh
  • Efficiency in which? tests: 2.97mi/kWh
  • Cost of recharging at home (new price cap – 34 pence per kWh): 11.4 pence per mile
  • Cost of running an equivalent size gasoline hybrid car: 13.5 pence per mile
  • Cost of running an equivalent size diesel car: 17.2 pence per mile
  • Public charging cost (55 pence per kWh): 18.5 pence per mile
  • Public charge cost (60 pence per kWh): 20.2 pence per mile
  • Public charging cost (65 pence per kWh): 21.9 pence per mile
  • Cost of running an equivalent size petrol car: 22 pence per mile

The Ioniq5 is an electric car that is every bit as fantastic as its looks suggest. With EPG, the cost to recharge this car is comfortably below other fuel types of the same size, including the typical petrol hybrid.

Here is our full test of the Hyundai Ioniq5 (2021-).

Volkswagen ID.4 (2021-)

VW ID.4
  • Class: Mid/Large SUV
  • Equivalent power: 204hp
  • Battery capacity: 77kWh
  • Efficiency in which? tests: 2.73mi/kWh
  • Cost of charging at home (new price cap – 34 pence per kWh): 12.5 pence per mile
  • Cost of running an equivalent size gasoline hybrid SUV: 16.9 pence per mile
  • Cost of running an equivalent size diesel SUV: 20.1 pence per mile
  • Public charge cost (55 pence per kWh): 20.2 pence per mile
  • Cost of running an equivalent-sized gasoline SUV: 20.4 pence per mile
  • Public charge cost (60 pence per kWh): 22 pence per mile
  • Public charge cost (65 pence per kWh): 23.9 pence per mile

The ID.4 is a fully electric mid-size SUV. A roomy and attractive family car, it managed decent range in our tests. There is also a sportier version, the ID.4 GTX, but it is naturally a bit less efficient. Compared to diesel and petrol equivalents, the regular ID.4 will save you hundreds of pounds a year if you can charge it from home.

Looking for a zero emission family car? read our Volkswagen ID.4 (2021-) review.

Mercedes-Benz EQV (2020-)

power price cap adds £165 to electric car charge
  • Class: Large MPV
  • Equivalent power: 204hp
  • Battery capacity: 90kWh
  • Efficiency in which? tests: 2.01mi/kWh
  • Cost of charging at home (new price cap – 34 pence per kWh): 16.9 pence per mile
  • Equivalent size diesel MPV running cost: 18.3p per mile
  • Cost of public charging (55 pence per kWh): 27.4 pence per mile
  • Cost of public charging (60 pence per kWh): 29.8 pence per mile
  • Public charging cost (65 pence per kWh): 32.3 pence per mile

The Mercedes-Benz EQV might be the least efficient electric car we’ve tested to date, but it will still save you money compared to full-size diesel-powered MPVs.

Looking for a luxury all-electric minivan? Mercedes-Benz EQV Review (2020-).

Our guides on charging an electric car explain everything from how long it takes to charge an electric car, to charging at home, to using public charging infrastructure.

We’re working to make life simpler for electric vehicles, from asking manufacturers to add AC and DC charging fees to cars, to making payments easier and improving the reliability of charging points. Read more about our vision for an EV future by heading to our article on Building an electric vehicle charging infrastructure fit for the future.


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*Energy efficiency can also be displayed as kWh/100 km – the kWh required to drive 100 km or 62 miles. Our reviews show our independent test figures in both mi/kWh and kWh/100km.

Article edited at 3:01 PM (Aug 26) to correct stats on small/compact SUVs and midsize car running costs.

Article edited at 07:13 (Sep 2) to correct cents per mile figures for hybrids, gasoline and diesel.

Article edited at 16:15 (September 12) after the EPG announcement.

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