One of the main selling points of an electric vehicle traditionally has been lower running costs. According to a new report from the RAC, though, this may no longer be the case.

Charging costs have risen 42% on average since May, the organisation says, putting prices virtually on a par with those experienced by petrol car owners at the pumps.

Electric family cars now cost £32.41 on average to rapid charge to 80% capacity, the RAC says – that’s an increase of £9.60 since May and £13.59 since last year.

Drivers exclusively using rapid charging points can expect to pay 18p per mile to keep their EV topped up. That’s just a penny less than it would cost to refuel an equivalent petrol model, and three pence less than an equivalent diesel.

Cost-conscious EV drivers are advised to charge their vehicles at home wherever possible – this brings the per-mile cost down to a much more agreeable 9p.

So, is this a temporary blip or cause for concern in the long-term? Here’s what the experts have to say…

The experts’ views

“For those that have already made the switch to an electric car or are thinking of doing so, it remains the case that charging away from home costs less than refuelling a petrol or diesel car, but these figures show that the gap is narrowing as a result of the enormous increases in the cost of electricity,” said RAC EV spokesman Simon Williams.

“These figures very clearly show that it’s drivers who use public rapid and ultra-rapid chargers the most who are being hit the hardest.

“The Energy Price Guarantee benefits those drivers who are fortunate enough to charge their cars at home, but for those that rely on the public charging network, including those without driveways, it’s a much bleaker picture right now.

“The RAC-backed FairCharge campaign is calling for the government to end the inequity that exists between drivers who can charge at home and those that cannot, by cutting the 20% VAT charged on electricity at public chargers to match the 5% domestic rate.

“The government needs to redouble its efforts in helping drivers to go electric if it is to meet its own net-zero transport objectives and levelling the public and domestic electricity VAT rates would show it is serious about doing so at a time when household budgets are getting ever tighter.”

Former Top Gear presenter and founder of the FairCharge campaign, Quentin Willson, said: “With electricity costs up by an average of 140% on last year and the Government’s divisive VAT levy of 20% on public charging, EV adoption is under threat.

“This government needs to act on charging costs, cap rises on public chargers, lower VAT and support charge point operators to build infrastructure. If they don’t, all those years of promises of a zero-emission future, clean air and energy independence will have come to nothing.”

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