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Rapid EV charging prices jump 21% as RAC calls for VAT reduction

InstaVolt has also called for a reduction in VAT for public charging to help reduce prices. Image: InstaVolt

InstaVolt has also called for a reduction in VAT for public charging to help reduce prices. Image: InstaVolt

New analysis from the RAC in association with the national FairCharge campaign has found that the average price of charging an electric car at a public rapid charger has soared 21%.

The two found that on a pay-as-you-go, non-subscription basis, the average price for charging an electric car at a publicly accessible rapid charger in GB is now 44.55p/kWh – a rise of 21% compared to September 2021.

This rise of 7.81p/kWh means that the average cost to complete an 80% rapid charge of a typical family-sized electric car with a 64kWh battery has increased by £4, from £18.81 to £22.81.

It comes during the current cost of living crisis, with household energy bills soaring due to consistent high power prices – which has also driven the increase in EV charging prices.

However, the RAC also detailed how costs have likewise risen for internal combustion engine vehicles, with the cost of filling a 55-litre family car from empty to 80% having increased by £14.54 in the same time period from £59.67 to £74.21.

Indeed, the costs of charging per mile at a rapid charger – up to 10p compared to 8p in September – are nearly half the cost per mile of a petrol family car, which is current 19p per mile.

Those reliant on public charging due to a lack of off-street parking are still paying a premium compared to those with access to home charging, however, as a result of the higher rate of VAT applied to electricity used for public charging compared to home.

This was clarified by HMRC last year, leading to price rises on some EV charging networks, including InstaVolt’s, with the company having campaigned since then for the VAT to be reduced in line with home use.

The RAC-backed FairCharge campaign is also calling for this, stating that a reduction of the VAT rate from 20% to 5% would see the cost of charging at a rapid charger cut by 5.57p/kWh and 6.37p/kWh at an ultra-rapid.

This would reduce the cost of an 80% charge by £2.85 and £3.26 on average at rapid and ultra-rapid chargers, respectively.

“We understand conversations have been had within government over this ‘no driveway premium’, but it’s time there was an acceptance that a VAT rate that’s more favourable to drivers who have their own off-street parking risks putting other drivers off making the switch,” RAC electric vehicle spokesperson Simon Williams said.

The average price of charging at ultra-rapid chargers, meanwhile, has risen by a greater margin than other chargers, up 16.76p/kWh from 34.21p/kWh to 50.97p/kWh.

The cost to charge a car to 80% using an ultra-rapid charger has therefore risen from £17.51 to £26.10.

Williams said: “Unsurprisingly, our analysis shows that the quickest places to charge are also the most expensive with ultra-rapid chargers costing on average 14% more to use than rapid chargers.

“For drivers in a hurry though, or travelling a long distance, paying this premium might well be worth it with the very fastest chargers capable of almost completely replenishing an electric car’s battery in a matter of minutes.”

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