When you switch to an electric car, you don’t have to worry about the cost of fuel anymore. By charging at home, you can avoid that petrol station stops when you’re running late or rushing to get the kids to school on time.
In fact, electric cars are cheaper to run than petrol or diesel cars over their lifetime. And that’s partly because electricity is cheaper than fuel. Still, it is essential to learn how to charge your electric vehicle more efficiently so you can save more money and make the most out of your vehicle.
But first, we need to discuss the basics of how to charge an electric car to get a better understanding of how you can charge more efficiently.
How to Charge An Electric Car – The Basics
There are two ways to charge an EV at home. The first is through Level 1 and Level 2 charging and the installation of charging equipment could have a lot of upfront costs. But could the upgrade to Level 2 charging pay for itself?
What are Level 1 and Level 2 Charging?
Level 1 Charging
Level 1 charging simply entails plugging your car into a standard 110-volt wall outlet. It’s important to know that the cable being used in Level 1 charging – something that comes with all-electric vehicles, is not a charger.
The charger is built into the car. These units are nothing more than fancy power cords which have some safety features to protect you, your car and your household electrical supply. The correct name for them is an EVSE or Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment.
Most electric cars in the market today will come with one of these as the standard, assuming you have a regular power outlet in your carriage – there is no need for you to spend any money. The downside, though is that charging your car from a standard wall outlet is slow.
An hour of charging will typically add only four miles or so of range. The charger in your car also prefers a 240 volts supply so that running on a 110 is less efficient. That means it wastes a lot of electricity.
Advantages of Level 1 Charging:
- Level 1 EVSE is included with most electric vehicles
- Does not require costly electrical work
Disadvantages of Level 1 Charging:
- Extremely slow (-4 miles of range added per hour)
- Inefficient – less grid energy reaches the battery
Level 2 Charging
The next option is Level 2 charging. This is a dedicated 240-volt supply like your central air conditioner. Depending on the power rating of the charger in your car, these can typically use anything from 16 to 48 AMPS of power.
Some units are fixed to the wall but they can also come in a portable form and some of these units are able to offer Level 1 charging in a standard outlet. All Level 2 charging, if you plug them into a 450 outlet, like those in an RV park, will simply require the swap of adaptor cables.
Charging your car with a Level 2 charger is much faster than Level 1 and typically adds between 20 to 40 miles of range power, depending on the chargers in the car and the available supply. Some cars like Tesla include a Level 2 charging EVSE standard along with an extra Level 1 unit like the 22 Mini.
As we’ve already mentioned, the charging in the car is more efficient when running on Level 2. Thus, less electricity is wasted. This often raises the question – how much improvement in efficiency pays more the moving up into Level 2 charging? Because yes – there is a cost.
Even if your car came with a Level 2-capable EVSE you likely won’t be able to make use of it if you have an RV-parked styled 450 socket in your garage, with heavy-duty cabling running back to your electrical panel on a suitable breaker.
If your car comes with a Level 2 EVSE then you will need to buy one of those too. And this is as soon as you have the room and capacity in your electrical panel, and even in your house’s electrical supply to feed one of these units. If not there are some considerable expenses waiting for you there.
Advantages of Level 2 Charging:
- Faster than Level 1 (adds 20 to 40 miles per hour)
- More efficient than Level (less energy wasted)
- Level 2 EVSE are included with some electric vehicles
Disadvantages of Level 2 Charging:
- Requires professional hard wiring or 240v outlet
- May require a panel or supply upgrade
Is Level 2 Charging Worth the Investment?
While the main reason to move to Level 2 charging is to get a faster charging speed, regardless of expense, some people do wonder if the improvement in charging efficiency will actually pay for itself. How do we find this out?
Well, let’s say your battery is around 20% and you need to charge it. Grab the included Level 1 unit from the trunk which is where the unit is kept for emergency use away from home. These units are always very basic. So to keep track of energy consumption, plug one of the power meters into the wall outlet, then plug the EVSE into that.
Wait until your charging level reaches 80%. Unplug the EVSE and check the power meter to show how much your battery has consumed.
Make a quick table to keep track of these numbers. In the first column, label how much kW the Level 1 charger has consumed until it reaches 80%. From that, you can calculate how long it will take to charge from 0 to 100%.
Next, try out Level 2 charging. Many Level 2 chargers are now smart chargers with WiFi and all the features which include the power meter. The fact that you can monitor the charging in the comfort of your living room is quite convenient.
When you plug the car in make sure the battery is at 20%. You can then wait until the charging level reaches 80%. Usually, Level 2 charging will take fewer hours to reach 80% – a couple of hours or 3 hours depending on the unit’s capacity.
Again, check to meter to see how much kW has been consumed in that period. Fill in the second column of your table with the numbers for Level 2 charging. From that, you can calculate how long it will take to charge from 0 to 100% with a Level 2 charger.
You will find upon comparison that you can save more on your electrical consumption using a Level 2 charger than a Level 1 charger. To determine how long it would take before the charger can pay for itself, just compare the amount you can save to the upfront cost of purchasing and installing the charger. You will discover that it usually pays for itself in a year or so of use.
The cost of saving when charging or Level 2 compared to Level 1 is small. Depending on whether you need to buy a Level 2 EVSE and depending on how much your electrical work will cost in having it installed, it will likely take at least 50,000 to 200,000 miles to recover the investment.
The government along with some companies offer incentives or grants on the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle charger so that may change the equation for some of you. But ultimately, the takeaway should be that you move to Level 2 charging for the ability to add range to your car much quicker. And as always, you have to pay to save time.
How To Optimize EV Charging At Home
Optimizing EV charging at home should start with choosing the most efficient EV charger for your home setup. When researching EV chargers, be sure to consider both the cost of the charger, as well as its power efficiency.
An EV charger that is more efficient will be able to charge your electric vehicle faster while saving you money on energy bills over time. Another option to maximize charging efficiency is to install a load-balancing system.
This will allow you to set up charging options that allow your EV to charge at the most efficient and cost-effective rate. For example, you could set it up so that your EV charges at the slower, less expensive rate overnight, and then switch to a faster charge rate during the day when electricity rates are higher.
You should also take into account the type of outlet and power setup available in your home when choosing the right EV charger. If you have an older home with a lower-voltage power outlet, you may want to consider an adapter or converter to raise the voltage.
This will help you charge your EV more efficiently and safely. Finally, you may want to consider installing a timer for your EV charger. This will allow you to schedule charging times that work with your lifestyle, rather than charging constantly.
Scheduling chargers can also provide additional energy savings by only charging during certain hours of the day when electricity rates are lower. Optimizing EV charging at home is a great way to save money and make sure your EV is charging efficiently.
By researching the most efficient chargers, utilizing load balancing, considering your home power set-up, and installing a timer, you can maximize your EV charging efficiency while saving money on energy costs.
How Much Does Charging An Electric Car Cost?
Charging an electric car in the UK can vary quite significantly in total cost, depending on the types of charger you use as well as the amount of electricity you require.
Until recently, charging an electric car in the UK was relatively cheap, however, with the introduction of electric cars being much more commonplace now, electric car owners are having to pay far more than they used to.
Using a standard three-pin plug – the most basic type of charger – to charge an electric car in the UK costs around 14p per kWh. This means that a full charge from empty on a 60kWh car would cost around £8.40.
These charges are based on the energy tariff from British Gas and may vary from other providers. A rapid charge from a rapid charging station costs much more than this – around 31p per/kWh or upwards of £18.60 for a full charge from an empty battery.
As a result, rapid charging is often avoided if possible. It is also possible to purchase a home-charging station, which will usually be around the same cost as the standard three-pin plug. However, this is much more convenient and allows users to charge their cars overnight – which is usually cheaper than during peak off-peak and on-peak times.
In conclusion, the cost of charging an electric car in the UK largely depends on the type of charger used, as well as the amount of electricity required to power it. Generally, charging a car using a standard three-pin plug or home-charging station at off-peak times is the cheapest, whilst rapid charging stations cost the most.
What is The Cheapest Way To Charge An Electric Car?
The cheapest way to charge an electric car requires little to no money up-front. There are a few methods to charge the car for free, including solar and wind power. You can also use your home’s existing electricity supply to charge the car, and many power companies offer off-peak discounts for charging at certain times of the day.
Access to a public charging network can also be an inexpensive way to refuel your electric vehicle. Public chargers are often located in public car parks, shopping centres and other public spaces. These chargers are sometimes free of charge, so take advantage of this if you have access.
If you own a fast charger, then the cheapest way to charge your electric car is to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates. Some power companies offer discounts for charging during certain times of the day.
During peak hours, electricity costs more, so off-peak charges are more economical. If you don’t own a fast charger, then slow charging from a public network can be a more economical operation. In general, electric car charging is still expensive compared to filling your petrol car.
As technology advances, the cost of charging should become more economical, so be sure to do your research and check for new developments in this area.
The Cheapest Time To Charge An Electric Car – Is Electricity Cheaper At Night?
The cheapest time to charge an electric car in the UK is typically overnight when energy tariffs are at their lowest. The economy 7 tariff allows for 7 hours of off-peak electricity use which typically falls from 12 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Many of the major energy suppliers offer discounts for these off-peak hours which often result in a much lower electricity rate than during the day. Charging an electric car during this time will help to save on electricity costs. In addition, many local authorities in the UK also offer discounted rates for electric vehicle charging.
These subsidies are intended to encourage electric vehicle ownership as part of their environmental and sustainability initiatives. Therefore, it is important to research the various discounts and specific requirements offered by local authorities when planning to charge an electric car.
Finally, it is important to note that the cheapest time to charge an electric car in the UK could also be when excess energy is available from renewable sources in the grid. This will depend on the electricity provider, but some companies offer discounts or extra units of electricity when renewable energy is available.
There are four different types of electric car charging tariffs in the UK:
- Domestic: Domestic tariffs are for domestic customers charging electric cars at home. These tariffs are commonly variable rates, with electricity prices varying depending on the supplier, time of day, and other characteristics. The government offers a variety of incentives to help offset the cost of domestic electric car charging.
- Business: Business tariffs are for businesses, typically those with multiple charging points for electric vehicles. Prices for such tariffs are usually much lower than domestic tariffs and may include additional benefits such as the clustering of multiple charging points and access to restricted areas.
- Public: Public tariffs are those used at public charging points, such as those belonging to companies like POD Point and Ecotricity. These tariffs vary depending on the provider and can range from prepaid schemes to pay-as-you-go billing.
- Pay-as-you-go: Pay-as-you-go tariffs allow drivers to pay a set amount based on the amount of electricity used. These are becoming more popular as an option and are typically compatible with all public and domestic chargers.
It is important for drivers to shop around and compare different charging tariffs to ensure they get the best deal for their needs. Some providers offer special discounts for certain time-of-day or daily usage, meaning drivers may be able to benefit from lower prices.
Drivers should always remember to factor in the cost of electricity when weighing up electric car charging tariffs.
Changing Your Energy Tariff
Changing your energy tariff in the UK can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s a process that can often save you money and reduce your emissions. The cheapest and often most reliable energy suppliers today offer competitive prices, so it’s worth shopping around.
The government’s Ofgem website provides an Ofgem Energy Switch Guarantee, which guarantees any customer switching their supplier will receive the same or better level of service as their current supplier. You can either look for energy tariffs online or, if you prefer, you can call customer services on the phone.
Either way, you will be asked to provide some personal information such as your postcode and your current tariff details. You should also provide any user data if you have it, as this can help you find the best deal on the market. Once you find a tariff that suits your needs, you can decide to move to that supplier.
The process of moving to a new tariff can take between three to six weeks, depending on your current supplier, who will need to confirm the switch. When you switch, the new energy supplier will contact your current supplier and notify them of the switch.
Your current supplier will then provide a final bill, which will likely include an exit fee if you leave your existing tariff. This fee varies between suppliers, so it’s worth doing some research before you switch. It’s also important to be aware of any cancellation fees you may face if you end up getting a new deal with a different supplier before your current deal ends.
Switching energy tariffs in the UK isn’t as daunting as it may initially appear. Make sure you know your current tariff details, research the market for a better deal, and proceed to switch with the confidence that you’re improving your energy consumption and doing your bit for the environment.
What Is An Off-peak Tariff?
An off-peak tariff is a type of discount offered on services such as electricity, petrol, water, and telecommunications. Off-peak tariffs are typically implemented by utility companies during specific times when a lower amount of power is needed, or to help manage peak demand periods.
The lower rates provided during these times incentivize customers to reduce their use of power during peak times, allowing utilities to avoid congestion, reduce energy costs, and provide better service to their customers.
Off-peak tariffs often allow customers to benefit from lower rates during certain periods, such as late evenings and weekends. This type of tariff typically requires users to be on a special plan, where the customers pay for an agreed-upon amount of energy, but there can be savings if they take advantage of the lower rate during off-peak times.
In most cases, the prices are higher during peak times, so it may be more beneficial to use appliances like washing machines and dishwashers during off-peak times instead.
Off-peak tariffs can be a great way for businesses, households, and governments to manage their energy usage and minimize the costs associated with running those businesses, households, and governments. While the savings may not be huge, they can add up over time, providing noticeable savings while helping to reduce the strain on the environment.
How Do I Change To An Off-peak Tariff?
If you’re looking to reduce your energy bills, switching from a peak-time electricity tariff to an off-peak tariff could be an option. Off-peak tariffs are slightly cheaper than peak-time tariffs as they offer lower rates at specific times, usually during off-hours like nighttime.
To switch to an off-peak tariff, you’ll need to contact your energy provider to find out what options are available. Generally, you’ll be asked to provide information such as your current energy consumption, bill size, and the local area.
Your energy provider may offer an off-peak tariff, or they may be able to direct you to one that may be more suitable for your usage. Once you’ve chosen a suitable off-peak tariff, you’ll be able to contact your provider to arrange the switch.
This may include signing a new contract or amending your existing one. Your energy provider will explain what documents you need to have ready. Make sure you read the terms and conditions before signing any agreement.
Once you’ve switched to an off-peak tariff, you’ll be able to save money on your energy bills by only using electricity during the designated off-peak hours. Your energy supplier may provide you with a smart meter to help you track your usage and ensure you’re making the most out of the tariff.
Accessing And Paying Public Chargepoints
Charging points for electric cars in the United Kingdom are becoming increasingly popular. As electric cars continue to gain popularity and become more prevalent on UK roads, so does the need for more public charging points.
There are several different ways to access and pay for public chargepoints in the UK. The most common way is to set up an account with an electric car charging network, such as Pod Point, Chargemaster or Electric Blue.
You may be able to join one of these networks as a business or personal customer. Once your account is set up, you will be able to access chargepoints across the country. You will usually need to pay via your account when you use a chargepoint. You may also be able to access chargepoints by simply paying in cash or by card.
Some chargepoints have payment terminals where you can insert your credit/debit card, or cash, to pay for your charge. The amount you need to pay will depend on the specific chargepoint and pricing plan. You may also be able to access chargepoints with your mobile phone.
Many public chargepoints are now equipped with NFC technology, which makes it possible to pay with your digital wallet. This works in the same way as using your credit/debit card at a payment terminal – you simply need to tap your smartphone on the NFC terminal to make a payment.
Finally, there are some chargepoints that you don’t need to pay at all. These are known as ‘free-to-use’ chargepoints, and there are now quite a few of them. These are typically provided by local authorities, or commercial companies, who are willing to offer the chargepoints for free in order to promote the use of electric cars in the area.
In summary, there are several different ways to access and pay for public chargepoints in the UK. You can join a network of chargepoints and pay through your account, pay in cash or with your card, use your mobile to make a payment, or use free-to-use chargepoints.
Home vs. Public Charing
Home charging is a great way to charge your electric vehicle in the comfort of your own home. The biggest benefit of home charging is convenience, as you can charge whenever you’re at home and don’t need to worry about finding a public charging station.
Home charging is also often free or significantly cheaper than public charging. It also allows for faster charging speeds, meaning you can get back on the road quicker. Public charging provides a great way to charge your electric vehicle when you’re away from home.
Public charging stations are located in convenient locations such as supermarkets and shopping centres, meaning it’s easy to top up your charge when you’re out and about. Public charging is often quicker than home charging, allowing you to get back on the road sooner. The biggest downside of public charging compared to home charging is that it can be more expensive than home charging, particularly if you use it frequently.
Ultimately, whether home or public charging is more beneficial for you depends on your own needs and preferences. If you prefer the convenience and don’t mind a slower charging speed, home charging may be the better option. Whereas if you need to charge quickly and money is less of a concern, public charging will likely be the way to go.
FAQ: Cheapest Times for Electricity
1. What time of day is the cheapest for electricity?
The cheapest times for electricity often occur during off-peak hours, which are typically late at night or early in the morning. This varies by region and depends on the specific electricity pricing structure set by utility companies. It’s advisable to check with your local utility provider or review your electricity bill for details on their off-peak hours.
2. Is electricity cheaper at night in the UK?
Yes, in the UK, electricity tends to be cheaper during off-peak hours, which are generally at night. Many energy providers in the UK offer Time of Use (TOU) tariffs that provide lower rates during non-peak times, incentivizing consumers to shift energy-intensive tasks, such as charging electric vehicles, to nighttime hours.
3. Why is electric power less expensive at night?
Electric power is often less expensive at night due to lower overall demand. During nighttime hours, businesses are closed, and many households are using less electricity for activities like cooking, entertainment, and lighting. This results in a surplus of available electricity in the grid, which can be offered at lower rates to incentivize consumption during these periods. Additionally, the reduced demand at night allows power plants to operate more efficiently, which can lead to lower production costs and, consequently, lower electricity prices for consumers.
You can save electricity by charging your electric vehicle at night. Charging at night takes advantage of off-peak electrical rates offered by your power provider, which are usually cheaper than the rates you pay during the day.
This can help you save money in the long run on your electric vehicle charging costs. Additionally, charging at night reduces the strain on the electrical grid during peak times, when demand for electricity is typically highest. That means better grid efficiency and reduced costs passed onto electricity customers.
Lastly, by charging your electric vehicle at night, your vehicle will be ready to go the next day with a full charge. All in all, charging your electric vehicle at night can save you money and help you reduce your energy consumption.