Electric cars are by design very economical to run thanks to the low cost of electricity. But there are still smart ways to pay even less, whether you’re charging at home or out and about.
Let’s get straight to the point: it’s much cheaper than filling up a conventional fuel tank! For example, to fully charge the battery of a new Renault ZOE (capacity: 52 kWh) on your domestic power outlet, in France, it will cost you between 6.40 euros and 8.20 euros if you’re on the standard EDF rate, depending on your meter capacity and payment plan (flat rate or top rate/economy hours). In the UK, the price is slightly lower, at the equivalent of between 5.70 euros and 6 euros. In Germany, however, at double the price per kWh, the cost of a full charge can easily reach 15 euros.
With a WLTP* range of 395 kilometers, in France and in the UK this equates to running costs of 0.02 euros per kilometer, compared to around five times that for a gas vehicle with a fuel economy of 7 l/100 km. Charging at home gets you an unbeatable cost per km, guaranteed.
For journeys in and around your local area, charging at home is more than enough. For long trips, as well as using apps that map all public charging points, new functions like the “Electric Route Planner”, available on MY Renault, plan out the trip in advance by identifying charging needs along the route. This way you know the overall travel time – including any required charging breaks. In Europe there are more than 170,000 charging points for public use (including almost 28,000 in France), some of which are even free! The paid ones operate varying price structures: flat rate, price per unit of time or per kilowatt hour supplied.
Generally speaking, the faster the charge the higher the price. High-power charging points (like those on the Ionity and Izivia networks) are almost always paid ones. Conversely, low-power charging points are more affordable, and even free at certain times during the day or night.
To make sense of it all, it’s best to use a mobile app such as MY Renault. A some point in 2020 the Z.E. Pass app will become available too, as part of a partnership with Plugsurfing. Lastly, it’s important to note that not many charging points accept bank cards, so you will have to get a special electric vehicle charge card.
Using an electric car is generally a wise move when it comes to running costs. But you can make it work even better for you financially with a few easy yet smart ways of planning your trips and charging in a more effective way, especially using apps.
First off, when it comes to charging your car at home, it’s best to get a payment plan with a lower rate for overnight power usage. These plans, available in many countries such as Germany and Norway, are ideal for charging electric cars. Electricity suppliers suggest that you schedule your charging mainly between 10:30 pm and 6:00 am, for example. This will cost you 20 to 30% less than the normal rate.
On that note, more and more electricity suppliers offer plans especially for electric vehicle owners who use overnight charging. This is the case in Europe — with the exception of Greece — and in North America, where the success of electromobility is encouraging suppliers to adapt their price structures accordingly. The trade-off is that the standing charge and daytime rates are higher. But it can still be a wise move if you do a lot of driving. Do the math carefully!
As the number of electric vehicles grows, the network of public charging points, including free ones, is expanding.
You’ll find them, for example, in Renault and Nissan dealerships, available for customers to use free of charge. They are also provided in supermarket parking lots in countries like Germany, the UK and France. In these three countries, Lidl and Aldi were the first to have them installed, along with Ikea. The Swedish furniture giant has had these free charging points installed in the parking lots of all of its stores in Belgium, France and Germany. There are also free charging points near restaurants to draw in new customers.
Finally, if you’re heading off on a trip, when booking your room, ask whether the hotel provides power outlets for electric cars. They are generally free of charge for guests.
Public charging points come in addition to private ones in apartment block or company parking lots. These are for the use of employees and customers.
* WLTP range (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedures) in standardized cycle: 57% urban driving, 25% suburban driving, 18% highway driving.
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