End of the road for the £350 electric car home charger grant: It closes TODAY just as the energy price cap hike could increase EV running costs by £200 a year
A government grant towards the installation of an electric vehicle charging point at owners’ homes will be withdrawn at the end of today.
The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) has for eight years offered owners of electric cars a £350 subsidy towards the cost of having a device fitted at their home, but will be closed from midnight as ministers scale back EV incentives.
The end of the scheme comes as the energy price cap hike tomorrow could see the average annual charging bill for electric car drivers rise by up to £200 per year.
End of the road for the £350 electric car home charger grant: Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which subsidises the cost of domestic charge point installations, closes tonight
The EVHS was launched in 2014 and has been available to any property owner who has an electric car.
It was confirmed earlier this year that, from 1 April 2022, the scheme would no longer be open to homeowners who live in ‘single-unit’ properties such as bungalows and detached, semi-detached or terraced houses.
For any installation to qualify for the grant it would need to be completed by today and a claim submitted by 30 April 2022 – though many installers warned weeks ago that they were already fully booked up until the deadline as EV owners rushed to take advantage of the incentive.
In its place for 1 April is the ‘EV Chargepoint Grant’, which is only available to those who live in a flat or rent a property, which represents a much smaller pool of EV owners.
Commenting on the scheme closing today, Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles, said: ‘The EV Homecharge Scheme has been a huge success in lowering the barriers for drivers to switch to electric.
‘The reality is that charging at home is still a lot cheaper than running a car on petrol, even after you take into account the full cost of an installed charger.’
She adds: ‘We will continue to offer a free home charger as part of our salary sacrifice bundle, absorbing the additional cost as the grant ends.
‘For our customers with driveways, having a smart charger gives them convenient, low-cost charging – taking advantage of abundant, green electricity at off-peak times.’
Howarth says the business is in support of the new EV Chargepoint Grant that reallocates funds towards people in apartment blocks and rental accommodation, describing it as ‘another important piece of the puzzle in getting the whole of the UK on the path towards electric transport’.
The combination of higher energy prices and cuts to taxpayer-funded grants is set to make buying and running and electric car a lot more expensive than it was a year ago
Tomorrow’s energy price cap rise could make EVs £200-a-year pricier to run
The energy price cap will rise from tomorrow by £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year for the average household on a default tariff paying via direct debit.
Under the current price cap, electricity costs on average across the UK, 20.8p per kWh. Under the new price cap, this will rise 36 per cent to 28.34p per kWh from 1 April.
There is also currently a 24.88p per day standing charge cap, which will rise to 45.34p.
If you own an electric car and predominantly charge at home, you can be sure to see the cost of replenishing the battery increase as a result of Ofgem’s decision to raise the cap. However, it might not be as dramatic as you may have imagined.
We’ve calculated that the additional cost per month to be between £12 and £16 for most Britons.
This is based on the energy consumption of an average electric car per mile, average annual mileage, a user charging entirely at home and the maximum rate of 28p per kilowatt hour that could be paid by someone on a standard variable rate tariff from April.
The energy price cap will rise tomorrow (1 April) by £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year for anyone on a default tariff paying via direct debit, Ofgem confirmed this month
Based on average EV energy consumption and an average 6,800 miles, domestic charging costs could rise by £12.38 per month for those who boost their car’s batteries predominantly at home
The energy price cap will rise in April by £693 from £1,277 to £1,971 per year for anyone on a default tariff paying via direct debit, Ofgem confirmed this month. This will ultimately have an impact on EV running costs for those who charge at home
This takes into account that the latest Department for Transport figures say the average Briton is driving 6,800 miles a year – though this is for the year 2020, which saw traffic levels drop by a quarter.
Grants towards EV purchases recently slashed to just £1,500
Currently just 24 EVs qualify for the Governments electric car grant of £1,500
The termination of the EVHS comes just four months after the Government last reduced grants towards the purchase of new electric vehicles.
The Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG), introduced back in 2011, was designed to help bridge the significant cost void between zero-emission vehicles and conventional petrol and diesel cars, originally offering to subsidise the price of a new battery model by up to £5,000.
However, the scheme over the years has been gradually scaled back, with the incentive trimmed in line with falling vehicle prices and growing demand – so claim MPs.
The latest cut to the scheme was announced in December. It now caps availability to only new EVs priced up to £32,000 and the grant amount is a measly £1,500.
This was also the second instance of the grant being slashed in just nine months; a year ago it was accessible for cars up to £50k and the amount was £3,000.
Currently, only 24 electric models sold in the UK qualify for the PiCG, and these tend to be smaller cars with lower-capacity batteries and therefore relatively short ranges compared to market leaders.
Based on these factors, electric car owners will see their average charging costs rise by £12.38 per month, up from £37.13 to £49.50. That means an annual hike in electric car charging costs of £148.44, increasing from £445.56 a year to £594.
Yet, with the culling of all Covid restrictions from the end of February, average mileage is expected to rise closer to pre-pandemic levels nearing 8,000 miles per year. This will see the cost of replenishing an EVs batteries rise by just over £16 a month – or £200 a year.
However, our calculation is very much a ‘worst-case scenario’. Many electric car owners may have a dedicated EV tariff, which offers them cheaper charging rates if they’re willing to tap into the grid at off-peak times.
Many EV owners may be able to access free charging at their work places or supermarket car parks, but will also pay to use public devices, especially the rising number at motorway services when completing longer journeys.
Motoring groups have been urging EV drivers to shop around ahead of the cap rise in a couple of months.
RAC spokesman, Rod Dennis, says any electric car owner on a standard variable rate tariff will ‘likely to be hit with some hefty increases’ from April, adding: ‘It can make a lot of sense to swap to one that’s specifically designed for EV drivers and offers cheaper overnight electricity prices.
‘Drivers need to brace themselves for rising prices from public charging networks too. We’ve already seen some increases announced by operators in recent months, and we’d expect to see more as we get further into 2022.’
There is one other major problem: EV tariffs are currently few and far between.
Many providers have pulled the availability of them in light of rising energy costs, with Octopus Energy among the few energy companies we found to currently offer a tariff specifically for EV drivers, with its ‘Go’ tariff providing lowest off-peak rates of 7.5p per kWh – which is up to 20.5p per kWh less than the maximum electricity cost from April.
Octopus told us in February that it had no plans to discontinue or make any wholesale changes to its EV tariff following the price cap rise.
Fiona Howarth told us last month: ‘For many drivers, charging your car at home is as simple as charging your phone, and EV-specific energy tariffs like Octopus Go offer cheap, green energy in the middle of the night.
‘Filling your car on that overnight rate costs just £12 a month for a typical British driver – saving over £1,000 every year compared to old school petrol.’