What is the cheapest way to charge an electric car?

Three cheap ways to charge an electric car

The cheapest way to charge an electric car is for free at supermarket chargers.

At home, the cheapest way to charge is with an EV tariff. If you have solar panels, then charging with solar will give you free, clean, off-grid energy.

The most expensive way to charge is at ultra-rapid charging stations, where you could pay over 50% more than charging at home.

Here are the three cheapest ways to charge an electric car:

1. Supermarket chargers

When you are out and about, free supermarket chargers are the cheapest way to charge an electric car because you can’t beat free!

However, to make sure you actually save money, you need to watch your spending inside the store, otherwise, your savings will be meaningless.

Also, beware of parking fines. Some supermarkets outsource car park management to firms that issue tickets for overstaying your welcome.

2. Solar panels

If we ignore the price of installation, the cheapest way to charge an electric car at home is with solar panels.

With solar panels, you can charge your car directly or charge an energy storage system like a Tesla Powerwall (which you then use to charge your car whenever you like).

Solar panels produce clean, free, off-grid energy, and they can also power other appliances in your home to save you money on your energy bills.

However, solar systems are expensive, costing £5,000 to £8,500 for a 4kW to 7kW system. So, for most people, this isn’t a ‘cheap’ way to charge at all.

3. EV tariffs

Another cheap way to charge at home is with an EV tariff. An EV tariff is a dual-rate energy tariff that offers a cheaper rate when you charge your car or between certain times (such as 12 am to 4 am).

For example, the Octopus Go tariff offers electricity at £0.05p/kWh, and EDF’s GoElectric 35 tariff offers prices as low as 4.5p per kWh. The downside to EV tariffs is they sometimes have higher standard rates during peak hours.

To schedule charging times, you need a smart charger. Read our guide on how to choose an EV charger.

Use a price comparison site to check for the best EV tariff deals, and make sure you switch when a cheaper deal becomes available.

How much to charge an electric car?

This depends entirely on the price per kWh and the total kWh consumed in your session. This article answers the question in detail, but at 15p per kWh, a 60kWh charging session would cost £8.40.

Alfred drives a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus but has his eye on a fully-electric pick-up truck. He'd love an electric Ford Ranger, which should be a real thing in a few years!