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  • Sep 15, 2022

  • 7 min read


Our tips to save money when charging your EV

Electric cars almost always offer a lower cost per mile than petrol and diesel, the difference can be as much as 10p per mile! Here we share our top tips on how to charge your EV as efficiently as possible and how to save money when doing so—whether you’re at home, at work, or on the go.

We cover your most asked questions, including:

  • Is it cheaper to charge an EV at home?
  • Do I need to fully charge my electric car’s battery?
  • Should I charge my electric car every night?

Can charging your EV overnight save money?

Hands up if you’re guilty of simply plugging your EV in to charge whenever you get home. If your hand is up, the good news is that there may be big savings to be made.

Some energy suppliers offer special overnight rates for charging an electric car, when demand for energy is lower. The Intelligent Octopus Go tariff gives you six hours of smart charging every night at a super low rate.

Bottom line? Switch to a smart EV tariff and plug in at night when energy's cheapest (and greenest) and wake up fully charged. Win-win.

Are EV charging tariffs worth it?

A lot of energy providers have launched special tariffs aimed specifically at EV owners. There are generally two types of EV tariffs:

  • Two-rate tariffs: these tariffs work by charging one rate for normal electricity use during the day, then a much cheaper rate overnight for charging your EV while you sleep.
  • Single-rate tariffs: where you pay the same rate throughout the day, but it's often discounted if you have an EV.

Exactly how much more electricity you'll use if you start charging your EV at home is hard to predict, as it depends on a number of factors including the size of your car's battery and how often you use it. Regardless of the exact figure, it’s worth considering that you’ll be saving on the expensive alternative of petrol or diesel, which should more than offset any increase in your energy bill!

Money Saving Expert Intelligent Octopus Go is the cheapest electric vehicle tariff available. Not to mention it's powered by 100% renewable energy. Smart-charge your car when the grid's greenest. Check if you're eligible to sign up today.

Head here to find out more about our green energy tariffs for EV drivers and fleets.

How can you reduce the need for EV fast charging?

There are three types of chargers, with different power ratings:

  1. Slow chargers - these are often the cheapest to use and are suitable for when vehicles are parked for several hours, such as on your driveway overnight. Typical charge time from empty to 80% is around 8 hours.
  2. Fast chargers - for when vehicles are parked for only a few hours, typically found across home, work and public locations. Typical charge time from empty to 80% is around 2-4 hours.
  3. Rapid chargers - the quickest, and usually most expensive, way to recharge a vehicle, typically recharging a vehicle to 80% in around half an hour. They can only be installed in public locations.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, drivers typically do a mix of 70% charging at home and 30% at public chargers.

Using a slow charge point is the cheapest way to charge an electric car. If you want to extend the range of your EV while you’re out and about, there are various techniques that you can adopt to drive more efficiently and reduce the need for EV fast charging:

  • Utilise regenerative, or regen, braking, which recharges your battery when you slow down or drive downhill. Good anticipation of the road ahead will allow you to do most of your slowing down through regen.
  • Use heating and air conditioning wisely, as heating or cooling an EV takes energy and depletes the battery.

What is the cheapest way to charge an electric car?

Find out below how you can save money when charging your electric vehicle. Hint—you absolutely can, so long as you follow certain EV battery charging best practices.

Is it cheaper to charge an EV at home?

Using a home charger is the cheapest way to charge an electric car. While on average it is cheaper to charge at home due to the beneficial EV tariffs you can adopt, charging on the public network never needs to break the bank, especially with some public chargers offering free energy. In comparison to petrol or diesel, it is definitely cheaper.

To charge at home, you’ll need access to off-road parking through a garage or driveway, as you’ll need easy access to mains electricity.

With Octopus Electric Vehicles, you can get a free home charger with our salary sacrifice scheme (the cost of these chargers ranging from £800 - £1,500), or the ultimate EV package with standard installation included. We'll also give you 4,000 free miles when you switch to the Intelligent Octopus Go tariff for EV drivers. Find out more about your free EV charger installation with Octopus Electric Vehicles here.

No driveway? No problem. If you don't have off-street parking we'll give you 4,000 free miles with Electroverse public charging network. We can also help you get set up with a workplace charger if needed.

Do I need to fully charge my electric car’s battery?

To keep your battery in the best nick and make sure you’re not spending more than you need to on charging, you’ll want to set your EV to stop charging at 80% and avoid running your battery lower than 20%. This is because the first and last parts of the battery take the longest to charge, and it’s also best practice for battery health and longevity.

Of course you can charge it up fully if you need the full range for a longer journey—we don’t want you breaking down en route to visit Auntie Sarah.

Should I charge my electric car every night?

Unless you're driving a serious amount of miles each day, it’s unlikely you’ll need to charge your electric car every night. Same as drivers of traditional petrol or gas-powered cars are unlikely to need to refill their tank daily. On average, a UK driver drives 20 miles, with the average electric car range is 194 miles - so absolutely no need to charge every night!

Does it matter if my electric car gets hot in the sun?

Electric cars have lithium batteries, which don’t like to overheat, and if subject to extreme temperatures can start to become less efficient and take longer to charge and decrease in charging speed - a very rare problem, even in a UK heatwave. Ensure the longevity of your EV and keep charging efficiently, try to park and charge in the shade, as well as charging early in the morning or at night.

So there you have it. There are a number of EV battery charging best practices you can follow to make it cheaper to charge an electric car. We offer the whole package for electric car drivers, offering a free charger and installation, as well as unbeatable green energy tariffs from Octopus Energy, powered by 100% renewable energy.