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Best electric car energy tariffs 2023

Home charging is a major factor in the cost of EV ownership. We assess the best available deals

If you’ve bought an electric car and are charging it at home, switching your energy tariff could save you hundreds of pounds every year. Suppliers will be keen to have you as a customer – especially since you’re likely to do most of your charging overnight, when the demand on the grid is lowest and the wholesale price of power is cheap.

That means most of the major suppliers offer a special EV tariff featuring an off-peak price per unit of electricity, which will be a fraction of the cost at busy times. Since the previous Auto Express tariff test back in 2021 there has been turmoil in the energy market and prices for power have risen steeply, but this means the off-peak savings now available are even more dramatic. Also, a number of new deals are starting to appear as the cost of electricity finally begins to fall back down.

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We have plugged all the figures into our spreadsheet to find out which electricity supplier takes the lead.

How we tested them

Every household and driver is different, so it’s best to get a personal quote, but for the purposes of this test we estimated the average power consumption for a three-bed house at 3,500kWh per year. Adding the charging of a medium-size electric car with an efficiency rate of four miles per kWh, covering 8,000 miles every year, will add an extra 2,000kWh to the bill.

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Owners whose daily mileage accounts for this annual total will be able to easily top up their car using cheaper night-time tariffs, which are usually limited to a few hours. For simplicity, we assumed that all the non-charging domestic power usage would be at the peak rate.

Reviews

OVO Charge Anytime

  • Annual cost: £1,336
  • Off-peak hours: N/A 
  • Power rate peak/off-peak: 28p/10p
  • Standing charge/day: 44p
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Website: ovoenergy.com

Unlike most of its competitors in our test, the OVO Charge Anytime tariff doesn’t have set off-peak hours. Instead, you simply tell the app what time you want your car to be charged by, and it then tops up the battery whenever it detects that the power is at its cheapest. 

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The big issue for consumers right now is that this technology is currently compatible with only 13 brands of car, or two home-charger units – the latter made by Ohme or Indra. If you have the right products, OVO could work out the cheapest option overall due to the lower peak-daytime rate, despite its surprisingly high standing charges and off-peak prices.

British Gas Electric Driver Sep24 

  • Annual cost: £1,407
  • Off-peak hours: Five 
  • Cost/kWh peak/off-peak: 30.7p/9.4p
  • Standing charge/day: 39.3p
  • Rating: 4.5 stars
  • Website: britishgas.co.uk

Unlike the OVO Charge Anytime and the Octopus Energy Intelligent tariffs, the Electric Driver from British Gas package isn’t fussy about which car or charger you use. It simply lowers the cost of all energy supplied to your house for five hours between midnight and 5am.

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This is enough time to get around 40kW into an EV battery, which will be good for 150-plus miles in an average electric car. However, it will also mean you can schedule other power-hungry appliances such as dishwashers to run off-peak. A low daytime price and the cheapest standing charge in this test offset the higher off-peak costs in our sums.

Octopus Energy Intelligent

  • Annual cost: £1,389
  • Off-peak hours: Six 
  • Power rate peak/off-peak: 31p/7.5p
  • Standing charge/day: 42p
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Website: octopus.energy
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As with OVO’s package, the Octopus Intelligent tariff uses special technology to work out which point of the day
(or night) the energy cost is lowest, and then it tops up your battery during these periods. This could be outside of the stated six off-peak hours of 11:30pm-05:30am, but you are assured that the cost will never be more than the quoted 7.5p rate if you have plugged in. Unlike the OVO offer, the cheaper rate will also apply to other appliances used in this period.

The drawback is that it’s currently available only to customers who have one of three chargers, or certain brands of EV.

Octopus Energy Go

  • Annual cost: £1,419
  • Off-peak hours: Four 
  • Power rate peak/off-peak: 31p/9p
  • Standing charge/day: 42p
  • Rating: 3.5 stars
  • Website: octopus.energy
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If you don’t have the hardware needed for Octopus Energy’s Intelligent offering, then Go is much less complicated – but it does cost more. The off-peak price has recently been lowered to 9p per kWh for the four hours between 00:30am-04:30am, and 31p at other times. The standing charge is reasonable, too, at 42p per day, and there are no exit fees if you decide it’s not for you.

We also like the option to use Octopus Energy’s Electroverse card for public chargers, giving customers a discount on plugging in away from home. It’s a shame the off-peak hours aren’t longer, though. 

E.On Next Drive Fixed

  • Annual cost: £1,525
  • Off-peak hours: Seven 
  • Power rate peak/off-peak: 34p/9.5p
  • Standing charge/day: 44p
  • Rating: 3 stars
  • Website: eonnext.com
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The most attractive part of E.On’s Next Drive Fixed package is the unusually long seven-hour charge period. This would allow you to cram another 84 miles’ worth of charge into a family-sized EV every night at the cheaper rate, compared with rivals such as Octopus. It could make a real difference if you regularly need to do long journeys on consecutive days.

You’ll want to make the most of it, too. That off-peak price is a reasonably competitive 9.5p per kWh, but E.On’s peak daytime rates and standing charge are both at the more expensive end of our test table.

EDF GoElectric

  • Annual cost: £1,566
  • Off-peak hours: Five 
  • Power rate peak/off-peak: 36p/8p
  • Standing charge/day: 44p
  • Rating: 2.5 stars
  • Website: edfenergy.com
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EDF’s cheap rate of 8p per kWh for a five-hour period overnight is reasonably competitive, but the standing charge is the second highest in this test and the peak cost is the most expensive. When the figures were fed into our spreadsheet, the product came out as the priciest, costing £230 more than OVO’s.

We were also unimpressed by the £75 exit fee if you want to swap suppliers. Oddly, the five-hour cheaper period shifts from midnight and 05:00am during winter and 01:00am-06:00am during summer. This would require resetting your car or charger, which could be rather irritating in practice.

Scottish Power EV Saver

  • Annual cost: £1,530
  • Off-peak hours: Five 
  • Power rate peak/off-peak: 35p/7.5p
  • Standing charge/day: 44p
  • Rating: 2 stars
  • Website: scottishpower.com
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Scottish Power lured us in with a promise of the lowest off-peak rate of any supplier here, at 7.45p per kWh for a five-hour period between midnight and 05:00am. Once we started looking for quotes, though, we were faced with broken links on the website and automated customer services helplines that sent us around in circles and refused to give us any information unless we entered existing customer numbers.

Eventually we found some information buried deep in the website, which showed it had one of the highest standing charge and daytime rates. No wonder Scottish Power made the details difficult to find.

Verdict

To find the best deal for your particular car, charger and circumstances will take a little homework – and it’s not information you’ll find on the usual online comparison sites. If you have a home charger and car that are compatible with OVO or Octopus’ Intelligent tariffs, then it’s likely these will be the cheapest options for you. The way they work ensures the ‘greenest’ use of energy by prioritising car charging when there is low demand on the grid – and that’s good news for everyone.

However, if you don’t have a compatible vehicle or charger, then you’ll probably prefer Electric Driver from British Gas. It offers five hours of cheap power for both charging cars and running household appliances. The electricity costs outside
of these times are competitive, too.

Thinking of switching to an EV? These are the best electric cars to buy right now...

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