Electric car drivers warned of high charging costs – Money-saving tips to combat prices

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According to the RAC’s newly launched Charge Watch tool, the average price to charge an electric vehicle to 80 percent at a public charger has increased since last year. When using a rapid charger in September 2021, it would have cost £18.81 to charge to 80 percent, with the most recent price data from May 2022, showing it would cost £22.81.

An even larger price increase can be seen with ultra-rapid chargers.

In September 2021, the price to charge at one of these public chargers was just £17.51, but has since risen to £26.10.

Graham Conway, Managing Director at Select Car Leasing, said: “The good news for modern motorists is that an EV’s lithium-ion battery should be good for at least 100,000 miles. In fact, most manufacturers stipulate that distance in their warranties – or around eight years.  

“But it still pays to keep battery longevity at the forefront of your mind when enjoying an EV, and there are some simple dos and don’ts when it comes to keeping it in tip-top condition – and making the most out of your battery’s range.” 

Use ‘Eco’ mode

Most electric vehicle batteries have an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 charge cycles, with this being reduced if the motorist drives aggressively.

Almost all modern electric vehicles are equipped with tech that caters to a more economical way of driving. 

Driving in ‘eco’ mode is “extremely beneficial” for the battery and allows drivers to get even more per charge in terms of range.

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Rapid charging

Recent research by the University of Oxford found that ultra-rapid charging causes “more degradation of the most common electric vehicle batteries than fast charging”, though the EV’s heat management system works hard to counter the effects.

The experts noted around a three percent battery “degradation” rate after 300 ultra-rapid charging cycles compared with home charging. 

The best solution is to use slow or regular fast charging as the default battery replenishing solution – and to keep rapid and ultra-rapid charging for longer journeys or rarer occasions. 

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Use of the vehicle

If a driver is away from their car for an extended period of time, leaving the battery fully charged is not recommended.

Renault have previously warned that this could actually accelerate the wear on battery cells.

The manufacturer’s engineers recommend charging your battery to “no more than 50 percent” before leaving the car to sit for a few weeks, or months, without being driven. 

Regenerative braking

One of the smartest features in an EV, regenerative braking is a unique way of capturing a vehicle’s kinetic energy and channelling it back into the battery. 

Most EVs have a number of different regenerative braking settings, from one where the system is really noticeable and when the driver will feel the sensation of braking the minute they lift their foot from the accelerator pedal, to setting it up so that it’s barely noticeable. 

Doing this will not only reduce fuel consumption and save money in the short term, it can help to reduce the number of battery charging cycles in the long term.

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