UK ultra-rapid charging at petrol parity – AA

Wholesale electricity prices have softened, whereas oil is up on tensions in the Middle East

UK ultra-rapid charging at petrol parity – AA
BP Pulse intends to open hundreds of rapid and ultra-rapid charging hubs in the UK by 2030

Ultra-rapid charging in the UK can now be cheaper by the mile than petrol following a fall in charging costs to the lowest level this year, according to data from the UK breakdown and insurance firm the AA

The cost of ultra-rapid charging — greater than 101 kW — fell to 61p/kWh (74¢/kWh) for peak rates in September, the equivalent of 13.7p/mile. Petrol refilling cost averaged 14.5p/mile during the month. 

“A further reduction in the cost of ultra-rapid charging is brilliant to see and shows that charge point operators can act quickly to pass on cost savings to drivers,” says Edmund King, president of the AA.

“Ultra-rapid charging can be cheaper by the mile than petrol and gives more food for thought to those who are considering making the swap from combustion cars to EVs,” he adds.

However, drivers using charge points offering flat rates saw prices remain the same as August, and slow chargers — typically stationed at lampposts in urban areas — saw peak and off-peak prices rise again in September.

The AA says its recent data shows that business and company car drivers are the ones most likely to make the switch to EVs due to tax benefits. And these drivers tend to drive longer distances and are thus more likely to use the ultra-rapid network to charge.  

“Transparent and competitive pricing of charging at home and on the road is an essential part of encouraging private and business drivers to go electric,” says King.

The price of rapid and ultra-rapid charging rose last year on the back of higher wholesale electricity and natural gas prices, but has been steadily falling this year. 

A 43kW rapid AC charger can typically charge an electric car in 20-40 minutes, whereas a 100 kW or more ultra-rapid charger can typically charge a car in 20 minutes, according to AA competitor the RAC

Growing network 

The UK now has 3,873 ultra-rapid charge points, according to data from charging mapper Zapmap. Since September 2022, there has been a 68pc increase in the number of ultra-rapid charging devices across the country.

The charging points tend to be found at motorway services or on main roads. As of September, there are a combined 9,209 rapid and ultra-rapid charging devices across 4,809 rapid and ultra-rapid charging locations in the UK.

Last month 193 new rapid and ultra-rapid charging devices were added. The UK had a total of 49,882 charging devices of all kinds at the end of September.

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