Electric vehicle energy tariffs

What are they and how do they work?

Some energy suppliers are again offering tariffs aimed at electric vehicle owners, after most were pulled from the market due to the energy crisis. But if you're one of the million EV owners in the UK, should you go for one? This guide helps you decide if they're worth it. 

What are electric vehicle energy tariffs?

As the name suggests, these are energy tariffs aimed at owners of electric vehicles (EVs) that use their home electricity to charge their car. There are generally two types of EV tariffs:

  • Two-rate tariffs, that offer cheaper electricity overnight. The most common, and typically the cheapest type of EV tariff, offers two different electricity rates depending on the time of day, with much lower rates at night. This means you can charge your car – or run your dishwasher, washing machine, etc (there are often no stipulations on what you can use the cut-price electricity for) – very cheaply overnight. This is similar to how Economy 7 tariffs work.

    Though prices are high right now, if you make full use of the cheap overnight rate, the best two-rate deal generally works out cheaper than capped standard variable tariffs – and there are no meaningfully cheaper regular open-market deals than these right now. See What EV tariffs are available? for our full analysis. 

  • Single-rate tariffs, where you pay the same rate throughout the day, but it's often discounted if you have an EV. The other type of EV tariff works the same way as regular deals, where you pay a flat rate, but it'll be a special price if you've an EV, or you'll get extras such as bill credit. 

    Currently, there are no single-rate EV tariffs that we could find. 

You can usually only get these tariffs if you own an EV (suppliers say they reserve the right to ask for proof of ownership). For more on owning an EV, or if you're thinking of getting one, see our full Electric Vehicles guide.

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Six electric vehicle energy tariff need-to-knows

Energy tariffs for EVs are a bit more complicated than your standard gas and electricity deal, so before we go through the tariffs, here are some tips to help you navigate the market...

  • The cost to charge your EV at home depends on its battery size, how many miles you drive, and whether you top-up at public charging points.

    For example, a Nissan Leaf uses about 38 kilowatt hours of electricity to fully charge - doing this once a week would add 1,976kWh a year to your bill, which would cost roughly an extra:

    • Less than £3 per week (£138/year) on the cheapest EV tariff. Provided you ONLY charge your car when the rate is cheap.

    • Around £9 per week (£484/year) on a standard variable tariff. Based on average rates under current Price Cap.

    Remember, this is only the cost of charging your EV – you still need to pay for household electricity costs, gas (if you use it), and the daily standing charges.

    Electric cars are generally much cheaper to run than petrol or diesel cars – and by far the biggest savings you can make will come from the fuel.

    This guide is all about EV tariffs for charging your EV at home, yet there are 10,000s of public electric car charging points if you need to top-up when you're out and about. See how to find your nearest public charge point

  • EV tariffs typically offer different rates at different times of day, so are often too complex to have listed on comparison sites, making it harder to know which tariff is best. You'll have to go direct to suppliers to get a quote or compare rates.

    For info on how to compare, see how to find your cheapest EV tariff.

  • Some EV tariffs are only available to existing customers of the supplier. That means if you're not already a customer, to get the tariff you'll need to switch to one of the supplier's regular energy tariffs, then switch to its EV tariff.

    This is usually the case for two-rate EV tariffs – where there are cheaper rates overnight, and higher rates during the day.

  • Your supplier needs this to track your electricity usage throughout the day, allowing it to offer cheaper rates during off-peak hours. If you have an older smart meter that goes 'dumb' when switching, you may need to get a new one installed. See our Smart meters guide for more info.

  • Some EV energy tariffs are electricity-only, which means that if your home also has gas, you'll need to have a separate tariff for it.

    However, some firms do offer dual-fuel EV tariffs. But remember, the main benefit of EV tariffs is the cheap rates overnight, which you won't get for your gas supply.

    So even if it does offer a dual-fuel tariff, it may still be worth checking you're not overpaying on your gas, and then opting to have two different suppliers. Although right now, most households are paying the Price Cap for gas anyway.

  • Charging your EV at home can take hours, especially without the proper equipment. According to the RAC, charging a typical 40kWh EV battery from empty could take as long as 17 hours using a standard household three-pin socket (there are also safety issues in doing this).

    What's more, if you've gone for a two-rate tariff, cheaper overnight rates for four or five hours won't really help, if takes as long as 17 hours to actually charge your car.

    So if you can afford it and have the space, it's a good idea to get a dedicated wall-mounted charging point for your vehicle – these gadgets can charge your car around three times faster than a standard plug.

    For more info, see our full electric vehicle guide. 

  • That's because the Price Cap only applies to default tariffs (typically this means Standard Variable Tariffs, or SVTs).

    For full info see our Price Cap FAQs guide, and our Is it time to fix my energy tariff? guide to see what fixed deals are currently available.

What are the cheapest EV tariffs?

Tariffs change regularly and new ones are launched all the time, but below are the top deals aimed at electric vehicle owners we found as of March 2024. Currently, there are fewer tariff available than usual due to the energy crisis, and all the top deals are two-rate tariffs.

To help you compare, we've worked out the average electricity rates on offer, and the average annual price. As there are no official figures on average consumption for someone with an electric vehicle, we've taken typical usage for a dual-fuel household, and added some extra electricity use for the electric vehicle – enough to charge a Nissan Leaf from empty to full once a week (that'd get you about 160 miles). We've assumed you'll want gas as well, so have given average dual-fuel prices. 

While it might not be an entirely accurate figure, it gives us a base for comparison – but be aware these tariffs are complicated to compare, so this as a list of who to try, rather than which one is best.

 Cheapest electric vehicle tariffs 

PROVIDER & TARIFF HOW IT WORKS AVG COST/YR (1)
Price capped dual-fuel tariff – to benchmark EV deals.  Most homes are on a price-capped tariff, so we've used the Cap to benchmark (average elec rate: 24.5p per kWh, gas: 6.04p per kWh). See Energy Price Cap regional unit rates.
£2,174

Ovo - Charge Anytime

Existing customers only 

Two-rate 'add-on' tariff – but you can only charge your car on the cheaper rate & not everyone can get it. 

- Off-peak hours: Anytime

- Off-peak rate: 7p/kWh - for EV charging only

Ovo's Charge Anytime is an add-on to its existing tariffs that gives a rate of 7p/kWh for any electricity you use for charging an EV. You'll initially be charged the normal rate under your existing tariff for all electricity you use, but Ovo says it will refund you the difference for anything you use for charging your EV each month. However, it's only available to those with certain EVs or EV home chargers. See full tariff details.

As it's an add-on to any existing Ovo tariff, we've used the supplier's standard variable tariff prices for the non-EV costs but it can be added to any of Ovo's available tariffs.

£1,829
Octopus Energy - Intelligent Octopus Go
Variable, electricity-only, existing customers only

Two-rate tariff with six off-peak hours – but not everyone can get it.

- Off-peak hours: 11.30pm to 5.30am

- Off-peak rate: 7.5p/kWh

However, it's only available to those with certain EVs or home chargers. It's electricity-only, so you'll need a separate gas deal - we've paired it with Octopus' standard variable gas tariff to give a cost for a dual-fuel home. See full tariff details.  

£1,891 (2)

E.on Next - Next Drive

Fixed, dual-fuel & electricity-only, new & existing customers 

Two-rate tariff with seven off-peak hours, fixed for 12 months

- Off-peak hours: 12am to 7am

- Off-peak rate: 6.9p/kWh

There are no exit fees. See full tariff details

£1,913
Octopus Energy - Octopus Go
Variable, electricity-only, existing customers only

Two-rate EV tariff with four off-peak hours.

- Off-peak hours: 12.30am to 4.30am

- Off-peak rate: 9p/kWh

It's electricity-only, so you'll need a separate gas deal – we've paired it with Octopus' standard variable gas tariff to give a cost for a dual-fuel home. See full tariff details.  

£1,921 (2)

British Gas - Electric Driver

Fixed, dual-fuel & electricity-only, new & existing customers

Two-rate tariff with five off-peak hours, fixed until 30 April 2025

- Off-peak hours: 12am to 5am

- Off-peak rate: 8.95/kWh (4)

Exit fees of £75 per fuel. See full tariff details.  

£1,984

EDF - GoElectric Overnight

Fixed, dual-fuel & electricity-only, new & existing customers

Two-rate tariff with five off-peak hours.

- Off-peak hours: 12am to 5am

- Off-peak rate: 8.99p/kWh (3)

Exit fees of £75 per fuel. See full tariff details

£1,986

Ecotricity - One-year Fixed EV tariff

Fixed, dual-fuel & electricity-only, new & existing customers

Two-rate tariff with five off-peak hours.

- Off-peak hours: 12am to 5am (1am-6am when the clocks change for summer)

- Off-peak rate: 8p/kWh

You don’t actually have to own an EV to be eligible for this tariff, but Ecotricity recommend you use a high proportion of your energy overnight, such as for charging an EV.
 

Exit fees of £100 per fuel. See full tariff details

£2,072
Scottish Power - EV Saver
Variable, dual-fuel & electricity-only, existing customers only

Two-rate tariff with five off-peak hours

- Off-peak hours: 12am to 5am

- Off-peak rate: 7.45p/kWh

Exit fees of £100 per fuel. See full tariff details

£2,084
Good Energy  - Standard (Smart EV)
Variable, dual-fuel & electricity-only, existing customers only

Two-rate tariff with five off-peak hours.

- Off-peak hours: 12am to 5am

- Off-peak rate: 9.41p/kWh

There are no exit fees. See full tariff details.

£2,117
Correct as of 10 April 2024 (we'll aim to update this each month). Based on typical dual-fuel use with an extra (52 x 38kWh = 1,976kWh/year) added for the EV. Standing charges for each tariff are similar - between 49p/day and the April Price Cap of 60.1p/day. (1) Where a tariff has off-peak and peak rates, we've assumed the EV will only be charged in off-peak hours. (2) This is an electricity-only tariff, so we've assumed the average price for gas is charged at Octopus' standard variable tariff rates. (3) You can get a slightly cheaper tariff if you bought or buy or Podpoint home charger after 18 October, then the off-peak rate is 8.49p/kWh. (4) If you have a Hive home charger, and your EV is plugged in for six hours or more, British Gas will credit you 4p (2p if less than six hours) for every kWh of charge you use.

Octopus Energy has another tariff worth considering if you've got an electric vehicle, but it's not specifically an EV tariff. Agile Octopus is a variable tariff where the rates you pay for energy can change half hourly, based on wholesale prices, with rates typically cheaper overnight and during the middle of the day. It's not right for everyone, but if you use the tariff the right way and take advantage of the off peak rates to charge your EV, it could mean big savings. We've full info in Should you fix? guide.

British Gas has launched its FreeCharge scheme, offering new and existing customers up to 8,000 miles of free EV charging, if you buy a Hive home charger (you don't have to use British Gas to install it and you can't already have one). You don't need to have a specific electricity tariff, but you do need to have a smart meter and activate the FreeCharge function in the Hive app. Your electricity bill will be credited according to the amount of energy you've used to charge your EV. You can find out more information on the Hive website.

In addition, if you have a Hive home charger, you can get up to 4p bill credit for every kWh of electricity you use to charge your car (you need need to be charging for six hours or more, otherwise the rate drops to 2p/kWh). This offer can be used with any of British Gas' electricity tariffs, not just its EV tariff.

How to calculate YOUR cheapest tariff (you'll usually have to do it manually)

Electric vehicle tariffs can be complex, and they generally don't appear on comparison sites, which makes it much harder to work out if they're a good or not. We've a few tips below on how to check.

If you do go for a fixed EV tariff, do remember to bear in mind any exit fees you'd need to pay to leave the tariff if prices started falling elsewhere and you wanted to ditch it.

Two-rate tariffs are generally the cheapest EV tariffs, but they're trickier to compare

Here's a rough way of working it out:

  • Find out how much electricity your EV will use. Work out how many kWh it'll take to charge your car for the mileage you'll likely do (check the car's stats online if you've not yet bought it).

  • Work out how much it'd be on the EV tariff.
    - Get overnight (or EV charging) rates for the EV tariff and multiply that by the amount you need to charge your car (we're assuming here you only charge off-peak, if not, adjust your maths).
    - Get peak day rates for the EV tariff to work out a cost for your normal electricity use (you'll see that on an old bill – deduct your car use if you've got one already)
    - Add costs for normal electricity use and EV charging together (if you have gas too, you'll need to add that as well in a similar way).

  • Work out how much it'd be on a regular tariff. Get a quote from suppliers for regular tariffs and put in your total use in (including EV use) and you'll see a a projected cost for the next year. 

  • Then compare the total cost for an EV tariff versus a regular tariff. Do the maths to work out what is cheapest (remember to factor in gas if needed).

Single-rate tariffs are generally pricier, but are easier to compare

Find out how much your EV needs as above and add that to your usual use (if you don't already have an EV), then get an annual quote of the price directly from the EV tariff supplier. Simply make a note of that quote, then compare that to quotes you get elsewhere. 

How to get an EV tariff – you'll usually need to be an existing customer

To sign up to an EV tariff, you'll usually need to go direct to the supplier, you won't be able switch via any comparison sites. What's more, most electric vehicle deals are only available to existing customers. If you're already with the firm you want an EV tariff from, then it's easy, but if not there's a few more steps involved:

If you're an existing customer, it's easy

If you're already with the supplier that's offering your EV tariff of choice, it's super-easy, just ask it to move you over to the EV tariff. 

If you don't have a smart meter the supplier can read, you'll need to get one installed. This could take a few weeks, but once that's sorted you can be moved on to the EV tariff immediately. 

If you're a new customer, you'll need to switch to a regular tariff first

If you're not currently with the supplier you want an EV tariff from, there's a few things you'll need to before you can be moved on to it: 

  • Step 1: Switch to a regular tariff with the firm that's offering your EV tariff. Make sure you pick its cheapest deal, as you're likely to be on this for a few weeks. However, due to the energy crisis, most firms only offer their standard variable tariff right now,  

    Once you've switched to it, then you'll need to ask it to switch you to the EV tariff – you can either contact it by phone or email, or some will let you request it through your online account.
      
  • Step 2: Get a smart meter installed if you don't already have one. Most EV tariffs rely on smart meters to work, so the supplier can track your use throughout the day and offer cheaper night-time rates.

    So you'll need to wait until your supplier can arrange installation before you can move across to the EV tariff. If you already have smart meters, you may still need to wait a few weeks while your supplier connects to your meters.

    Once your smart meters are installed and your supplier is receiving readings from them, you should be moved across to the EV tariff.

Some EV tariffs are for electricity-only, so don't forget to sort your gas tariff 

If your EV tariff is an electricity-only tariff, don't forget to sort out your gas tariff. It's likely you'll need to remain on the standard variable tariff for your gas, either with your existing firm or with the EV tariff provider (the rates will likely be the same), due to energy market crisis. 

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What is smart charging?

Smart charging is a way of automatically charging your EV when national demand for electricity is lower (such as at night), when there's lots of renewable energy on the grid or when energy rates are cheaper (depending on what tariff you're on).

You can let your smart charger work out the best time to charge, or schedule it to complete charging by a particular time or to a specified battery level. It's all controlled via an app that connects to your charger, or you can control it on the charge point itself.

You can always override smart charging at anytime. There's usually an option on your charge point or app that lets you charge immediately.

Combine a smart charger with an EV tariff to cut electricity bills

Smart charging can help you save on your electricity bill, if you combine it with a special EV tariff that offers lower off-peak electricity rates. Just make sure to schedule your smart charger to take advantage of the cheaper overnight rates.

  • Can I get cheap charging at home without a smart charger?

    From July 2022, all new charge points installed in UK private homes and workplaces must have smart functionality. If you have an older charge point without smart functionality, you can still take advantage of cheaper off-peak charging by signing up to an EV tariff, and manually plugging your EV in to charge at those cheaper tariff-specific times.

    Alternatively, with some EVs, like Tesla, you can schedule charging at off-peak times via the car itself.

  • You could charge your EV for free with solar panels

    A standard solar panel system can generate enough electricity to fully charge an electric car. With the right EV charger, you can charge your car directly from your solar panels during the day – and it won't cost you a penny (if your panels can generate enough electricity).

    But if you need to charge your EV at night (as most EV owners do), you’ll need a solar storage battery to store the energy generated throughout the day, which you can then use to charge your car overnight – for free. But bear in mind, it will take longer to charge an EV using solar compared to directly off the grid.

    If you're thinking about getting solar panels for your home, see our Solar panels guide for more info.
  • A Government grant could help towards the cost of a home charge point

    The Government is offering homeowners and renters with access to adequate street parking a grant of up to £350 (including VAT) towards the cost of installing an EV charge point at home.

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