My EV costs 10p per mile but you shouldn’t buy one

Murray Callander
3 min readSep 21, 2022

At the weekend I drove a return journey totalling 280 miles mostly on motorways. The average cost was 10p/mile (or about £28).

There’s a lot more to the story though — it could have been a lot more, plus that fact that it was really flipping stressful to find a charger that was free!

So if you’re interested in the details of how I worked it out and why it could have been much more, (oh, and also, how darn lucky I was to actually be able to find a free charger because the are just not enough chargers out there at the moment!), then read on.

The table below shows how I calculated the costs:

A detailed breakdown of the costs of charging an electric car over a 280 mile journey

At first glance this looks good value; 10p/mile equates to about 79 mpg at current diesel prices (£1.71/litre as I write this). I can’t find a big family car that will do that.

But if you look into the details of the costs, you can see there is a very big difference in the cost of charging. Compare rows 1, 3 and 6 and you can see that the Ionity network charges nearly 10x more than I’m paying at home on my night-time EV tariff.

If I had to drive the whole journey on charge from Ionity it would cost me £82.52 (or 29.5p/mile).

That’s the equivalent of 26 mpg at current diesel prices!!

Gridserve is cheaper at 50p/kWh, but still works out at 21.4p/mile (36mpg at current prices). The picture below is my charging session at Moto Rugby (big credit to them though — what a fantastic example of how services should be! And the chargers are at least properly rapid!).

So I feel that we are still at a point with Electric Cars where, UNLESS YOU CAN CHARGE AT HOME ON A CHEAP EV TARIFF, MOST DIESELS ARE STILL MORE ECONOMICAL.

And that’s especially true when you add in another factor I experienced which was that ALL THE CHARGERS I WENT TO WERE FULL.

And yes, that includes all the Tesla ones that I can’t use any more. 8am on a Sunday morning — all 4 Gridserve chargers at Beconsfield — full.

Moto services at Rugby — 24 chargers, (12 Tesla, 12 not) and we had to wait.

Oxford Services, where we didn’t actually need to charge, but oh my goodness, absolutely choc-a-bloc. All 16 Tesla Superchargers in use, and only 2 crappy 50kW chargers for everyone else to share.

If you need to charge on route, you just cannot rely on anywhere that has less than 8 chargers. Smaller places may as well not exist unless you really are desperate as you might be waiting for hours!

So many people have bought an EV now that the infrastructure has fallen way behind. Every services needs to look like Moto Rugby if EV’s are going to catch on.

I really like my EV and most of my driving is local and I charge at the cheap rate so it makes sense. But until all the service stations have at least twelve 350kW chargers, please don’t anyone else buy one! Unless you can charge at home on a cheap tariff, they are more expensive than current diesels, and it’s making my life really stressful trying to find a free chargers on longer journeys!

Footnote: what if I had more range…

You could argue that if my EV had a range of 300 miles then I would not have needed to charge at all. Well, I haven’t found an EV with a 300 mile range that can also comfortably fit a family of 5 plus a dog for 3+ hours. And anyway, the chargers I saw were full with mostly cars that have more range than mine anyway! So it didn’t solve the problem for them….

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Murray Callander

Co-Founder & CEO @eigenltd — How can we help industrial companies become more efficient? And how do we make sure we do a great job?