The AA has warned that drivers of electric vehicles may not be getting the best value for money if they don't shop around for the right electricity tariff.
Research by the group has found that EV drivers on some tariffs could be paying 3.5 times as much as those on a more suitable plan - something which could, in some cases, be costing drivers an extra €1,000 or more every year.
Big savings possible
Taking Ireland's best-selling electric car, the Volkswagen ID.4 and some of Electric Ireland's rates as examples, on Electric Ireland's pay-as-you-go tariff and at a price of €0.43 per kilowatt hour, it could cost up to €33.32 to fill the ID.4's 77kWh battery. While that may seem like a low figure compared to the price of petrol and diesel, it's still far above what an EV driver could be paying had they chosen a more favourable plan. With statistics showing that Irish motorists cover, on average, 17,000km every year, running an ID.4 would add an extra €1,381 a year to domestic electricity bills on the pay-as-you-go rate.
Those with smart or day-and-night electricity meters can avail of Electric Ireland's night rates at €0.215 per kilowatt hour, meaning they could refill their ID.4's battery from empty for just €16.59, something which, using only domestic charging, would cost €688 every year versus €2,300 for a petrol car.
Nonetheless, there remains further room still for saving with Electric Ireland's Night Boost tariff billing users just €0.126 per kilowatt hour between two and four in the morning. Charging exclusively at this rate could cost as little as €404 every year, though it should be borne in mind that charging an electric car for two hours at a domestic charger won't come close to refilling its battery from empty. What it could do, however, is add around 80km of range for €1.90, which is likely more than enough range for a lot of drivers.
"With the average motorist in Ireland driving about 17,000km per year, choosing the right time to charge and which tariff to use could save them up to €1,000 per year in charging costs alone," said AA Ireland's Blake Boland.
"As long as they are happy to 'top up' by about 80km range per night, a year's worth of driving would cost them a mere €404.00."
"With the average price of petrol at €1.84 and diesel at €1.94 according to our survey this month, we know that the same distance driven by your equivalent diesel will be about €1,900, and about €2,300 for the petrol version. Even paying the highest rate of domestic electricity from October 1st, the same 17,000km is going to cost an EV driver €1,381, but this analysis shows that it could cost as little as €404."
There are other tariffs out there
Although Electric Ireland's Night Boost tariff is competitive, it's far from the cheapest or most flexible on the market, with plans out there which are not only less expensive but which apply over a longer duration than just two hours in the very early morning and which, as a result, are likely more suitable for those driving longer distances every day.
At present, Energia's Electric Car Energy plan charges €0.103 per kilowatt hour between the hours of 11pm and 8am in the winter (12am - 9am in the summer), which would mean that the ID.4's battery could theoretically be topped up from empty for €7.93.