October 2023 Version • Watts Up With That?

Story Tip

In today’s Telegraph there is a story about someone who decided to buy an EV as a second car. She bought a one year old Renault Zoe for £15,000. That was the good part, though whoever sold it had taken quite a hit on depreciation.

Next came the interesting part. To charge this car from a normal household mains outlet would take 32 hours to charge the 52kW battery. So they had to get a car charger. To get this they had to install a smart meter. And also had to upgrade their network fuse from 60 amps to 100 amps. The fuse upgrade was free, but the charger and installation cost just under £1,500.

So was it worth it? Well most would say that yes, a car which takes over a day to charge is not really usable for the purposes for which people have been used to buying and using them, so it was not just worth it, it was essential. But what about public charge points? Here we get to the rub:

There’s also the option of public charge points, which save time, but cost more.

Compared to the 7.5p/kWh we pay for charging our car overnight, our nearest public charger, a 22kW Plug-N-Go version, costs 39p/kW plus a 50p connection fee, while the 60kW GeniePoint charger at our local supermarket costs 79p/kW.

Assuming we rev up our Renault Zoe with the equivalent of a single battery charge every week, we should only pay about £203 a year at home, compared to £1,080 or £2,136 at the nearest public chargers.

There is a point here which is easily missed on a fast reading. There is a specific car charging tariff. Her chosen charger

charges 7.5p/kWh during the six hours from 11.30pm to 5.30am, compared to 31.01p/kWh the rest of the time.

Earlier in the piece she goes through the problems with finding the right charger. It had to be compatible with her supplier’s tariff.

So you see the problem which 80% of new car buyers will be faced with in 2030 (maybe 100% if Labour gets in in the UK). Its that the only time you can charge at an acceptable cost is between 11.30pm and 5.30am. And to be able to do that, you have to install both a smart meter and an acceptable charger. Which you can only do if you have somewhere to park and charge within easy safe reach of the meter. That is to say, not in an apartment or a UK terraced house.

The author has solved her own problem. the arrangements she has reached will be fine for her use, and its clear from the tone of the piece that £1,500 one way or the other is not a big deal for them. They are living in what sounds like a fine listed building in rural Suffolk. Good on them.

What about the rest of the population? Don’t bother us with that sort of thing, think of the children, we are saving the planet. Aren’t we?

Comments are closed.