The hidden costs of owning an electric car – so is it really cheaper than a petrol or diesel?

DRIVING an electric car might seem like a cheaper option, but drivers are being hit with hidden costs as the motors become more popular.

The number of electric vehicles on British roads has risen by 33 per cent in the last year, but that's been matched by a hike in charging costs.

The majority of public charging points no longer offer free electricity, with plug-in drivers now forced to fork out for monthly subscriptions to power up their motors.

In some cases, drivers can expect to pay as much as £17 per month in additional charging fees, including subscription costs.

According to a study by What Car?, the cost to charge a Renault Zoe ZE40 to 80 per cent varied largely depending on location.

They found motorists could pay as much as £17.46 to use a Source London Flexi – fast (7.4 kW) charging station, or as little as £7.70 for a Polar Instant – fast (7.2 kW) charger.

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The price to charge an electric car also varied depending on whether or not there was a registration fee, and whether the cost was charged by monthly subscription, by the hour or by kWh unit cost.

Research found that public charging could cost drivers twice as much as if they were to power up their vehicle at home.

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But a lack of public parking means many motorists are forced to pay public charging rates.

Steve Huntingford, Editor at What Car? said: “Plug-in electrics are still relatively new to consumers and so they might not be as clued up as they would be with a petrol or diesel equivalent.

“Plug-ins should remain an extremely worthwhile and affordable investment for many, but it’s essential that prospective owners are doing their research and making sure they’ve got the right car for their needs and lifestyle.”

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