Electric vehicle (EV) tariffs: should you get one?

As more and more people make the switch from petrol and diesel to electric, we explore the world of EV tariffs.

EV tariffs: A man charges up his electric car
EV tariffs offer cheaper overnight energy rates
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With household budgets still being squeezed by high energy bills, amongst other cost of living pressures, you may be on the hunt for a tariff that suits you.

The Ofgem energy price cap is set to drop significantly from 1 April. Energy bills could yet fall even further in 2024. With this improved outlook, more tariff options are becoming available.

If you own one of the million or so electric vehicles on UK roads, one potential way to lower your electricity costs is to take on an EV tariff. These offer drivers the chance to charge their vehicle’s batteries for less.

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So, how do they work and are they worth switching to? We've explained everything you need to know.

What are EV tariffs?

EV tariffs are specifically targeted at drivers of electric vehicles so they can charge their vehicles at home in the most affordable way.

The options currently available on the market work in a similar way to Economy 7 and time of use (TOU) tariffs. You will get discounted electricity unit rates for charging your vehicle during off-peak hours – usually overnight.

While EV tariffs are aimed at electric vehicle owners, the cheaper unit rates often apply to all electricity usage during off-peak hours. This means you can save money on household activities, like running a washing machine or dishwasher.

Variable EV tariffs offering a dual-rate are covered by the Ofgem energy price cap, while fixed deals are not. Suppliers have to come in below a weighted average unit rate that considers typical day and night usage for households.

The exact rate varies by region. You should contact your supplier to find out what your exact rates would be.

Am I eligible for an EV tariff?

To qualify for this type of tariff, you need to own an EV charger and have a smart meter fitted. This is so your energy supplier can accurately measure how much energy you use - and when you use it.

Some suppliers also require you to be an existing customer. If you aren’t already with that provider, you may have to switch to one of their other tariffs before switching across to their EV-specific deal.

On top of this, you’ll likely need to provide proof of owning an electric vehicle. Some suppliers have restrictions on the makes and models they supply, so it’s worth checking whether the vehicle you have or want to buy is included.

For example, Ovo Energy has a full list of EVs it will supply energy for. Your provider may also only support certain types or brands of chargers.

Another key thing to check when signing up for this kind of tariff is whether it’s single or dual fuel. Some suppliers offer electricity-only products, meaning if you have gas, you will need to get a separate tariff for it.

Is it worth getting an EV tariff?

You can potentially save hundreds of pounds a year with an EV tariff compared to if you charge your EV up using a standard tariff.

Exactly how much you can save will depend on the type of vehicle you own, your usage, driving distances and how much of your general energy consumption you can shift to off-peak times.

Introducing an EV into your household can potentially increase your energy consumption by up to 50%. However, EV tariffs provide off-peak rates that are substantially cheaper than those offered by Economy 7 tariffs (time-of-use tariffs can vary daily so it’s hard to compare).

As long as you’re doing the bulk of your charging at home and this is taking place outside of peak hours, an EV tariff is likely to be a good bet to keep your bills down. According to Ovo, charging an EV with its Charge Anytime tariff works out at less than 3p a mile – around 75% less than the price of petrol. Meanwhile, Good Energy says you can get a full charge for £3.76 with its Smart Meter EV tariff.

If you are thinking about buying an electric vehicle, it’s worth looking at which suppliers offer bundles that may help you save on charger installation costs. The government also offers a grant of £350 (or 75% off the cost of getting a socket) if you want a charger but live in a flat or rented accommodation.

Which are the best EV tariffs?

We’ve done some digging into the latest EV tariff offerings from the biggest energy suppliers across the UK. Here’s the lowdown of what’s currently available:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
SupplierTariff name (and key info)Off-peak unit rate (per kWh)Number of off-peak hours
OVO EnergyCharge Anytime (free tariff add-on that offers credit for smart charging)7p (EV charging only)N/A
Scottish PowerEV Saver (TOU)7.45p5 (7 days a week)
Octopus EnergyIntelligent Octopus Go (variable + you have to smart charge)7.5p6 (7 days a week)
E.on NextNext Drive (TOU; no exit fees)8p7 (7 days a week)
EDFhttps://pod-point.com/edf-and-pod-point-ev-exclusive-tariff8.49p5 (7 days a week)
British GasElectric Driver (TOU; no exit fees)8.95p5 (7 days a week)
EDFGoElectric Overnight (fixed 1 year; £75 exit fee per fuel)9p5 (7 days a week)
Octopus EnergyOctopus Go9p4 (7 days a week)
Good EnergySmart Meter EV (variable)9.4p5 (7 days a week)
Recent updates

 Prices correct as of 4 March 2024 

How to save money with an EV tariff

Here are a few ways to maximise your savings with an EV tariff:

  • Optimise your EV charging: If you have a smart charger, take advantage of off-peak times by powering up your vehicle when costs are at their lowest. You’ll be able to manage your battery’s charge level and set a minimum threshold to prevent your EV from running low.
  • Use your energy-hungry appliances at night: Whether it’s dishwashing duties or laundry day, it’s worth rethinking your appliance schedule. EV tariffs allow you to use any electricity at a discounted price in off-peak hours, so you can save on your energy bills by using energy-hungry appliances at a cheaper time.
  • Watch out for daylight savings: Clock adjustments could alter your off-peak windows by an hour. Make sure to stay on top of these changes by checking with your energy supplier.
  • Drive your EV efficiently: By adopting economical driving habits like smooth acceleration and braking, sticking to speed limits and not overusing your heating or air con, you could reduce your overall charging needs and keep your costs down.
Oojal Dhanjal
Staff writer

Oojal has a background in consumer journalism and is interested in helping people make the most of their money. Oojal has an MA in international journalism from Cardiff University, and before joining MoneyWeek, she worked for Look After My Bills, a personal finance website, where she covered guides on household bills and money-saving deals. Her bylines can be found on Newsquest, Voice Wales, DIVA and Sony Music, and she has explored subjects ranging from luxury real estate to the cost of living, politics and LGBTQIA+ issues. Outside of work, Oojal enjoys travelling, going to the movies and learning Spanish with a little green owl. 

With contributions from