Ireland is second most expensive for EV charging in Europe, says report

Only Germans pay more for their electric motoring in Europe, according to price comparison website

Ireland is the second most expensive state to run an electric car in Europe, according to a report by price comparison website Switcher.ie using Eurostat data on domestic electricity prices.

The study found that only in Germany is it more expensive to charge an EV than it is in Ireland. Switcher.ie used the Eurostat data on domestic electricity prices for the second half of 2023, and took an average of the 20 bestselling electric models to determine the pricing. It says the study shows that in 2023 it cost on average €12.63 for a full charge and €3.78 for a 100km road trip, with an average increase of 4.44 per cent across Europe – although costs and price changes vary considerably.

Ireland’s second place in the table is due to an average of €22.25 per full charge, and €6.66 to drive 100km. Germany’s figures, for comparison, were €23.57 for a full charge, and €7.06 per 100km.

The lowest price to charge is in Bulgaria, with a cost of €6.99 for a full charge, and each 100km journey costing €2.09.

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The UK sees charges of €19.35 for a full charge and €5.79 per 100km.

The lowest charging costs are in the east and southeast of Europe, which raises something of a conundrum – their cheap electricity is often still heavily coal-based. They also tend to have much smaller markets for electric cars.

Eoin Clarke, commercial director of Switcher.ie, said: “Switcher.ie’s latest research found the average cost of home charging is still on the up, but prices fluctuate hugely across the EU, with some countries seeing sharp drops and others experiencing steep hikes in 2023.

“This is largely due to government supports during the energy crisis and ever-changing global headwinds which impact countries differently. Although electricity costs are still historically high, energy prices have peaked and EVs are nowhere near as financially draining as petrol or diesel vehicles are to keep on the road. EV sales have seen a downturn recently as many governments phase out initiatives like purchase grants and tax benefits, but as motorists seek a haven from hefty fuel-pump prices it’s likely the EV market will rebound and continue to thrive.

“As EV prices are falling and charging infrastructure continues to improve, it could be time to consider the switch. Make sure you do your research beforehand though; shop around for the best deal, take advantage of any grants and incentives and look out for energy tariffs and car insurance designed especially for electric vehicles.”

Ireland is also still proving stubbornly expensive when it comes to the cost of public charging. At the moment, for pay-as-you-go customers, ESB eCars is charging 56c per kWh for slow charging, 64c per kWh for fast charging, and 68c per kWh for high-speed charging. These are the same prices that were being charged last August, when the company assured customers that the cost of public charging would fall before the end of 2023 thanks to the reductions in the cost of wholesale electricity.

Asked why the prices here have not fallen, a spokesperson for ESB eCars said: “Continuous investment is required to continue our upgrade and expansion work, as well as maintaining the customer offerings including the eCar connect app and customer care service. We want our pricing to be fair and attractive to customers who are making the change to clean transport.

“As such, we monitor our pricing on an ongoing basis to ensure it is competitive while also covering the cost of expanding and operating a national network on a 24/7/365 basis. When wholesale energy costs were soaring across Europe, we worked hard to absorb the increases and avoided passing these additional costs to drivers. We will always work to offer drivers the most competitive rates available and will work hard to keep the cost of charging as low as possible.

“On why the price is higher than the unit price of home electricity, this is because the price includes the cost of electricity, connection charges, management and maintenance of the network, access to a round-the-clock customer care phone line, supporting IT systems to allow remote monitoring of the network and the eCar connect app with improved functionality. In addition, it allows us to further invest in the public EV charging network. We monitor and review our pricing on an ongoing basis to ensure it is competitive.”

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring