Fleets face huge variance in EV recharging costs across Europe
Fleet managers face a difficult set of calculations to work our the energy cost savings of operating electric rather than diesel vehicles on a pan-European basis.
Firstly, there is huge variance in the cost of electricity from country to country.
Secondly, even within countries there is a wide divergence in recharging costs depending on where the driver plugs in – charging at home is significantly cheaper than using an ultra-fast charger on the motorway.
And thirdly, the impact on fleet budgets of switching from internal combustion engines to battery-powered motors depends on national pump prices for diesel as well as local tax rules which determine how much VAT and duty that businesses can recover on both electricity and diesel for business miles. Within the European Union the average price of 1kilowatt hour (kWh) ranges from €0.29 in Denmark to €0.0958 in Bulgaria; and the average price of 1-litre of diesel ranges from €1.35 in Sweden to €0.89 in Bulgaria.
Research by the price comparison website Uswitch found that a driver covering 16,000km per year and relying on a four-hour charge to cover 240km would pay three times as much for their electricity in Denmark as in Bulgaria.
Annual electricity cost for running an electric car
|9||United Kingdom||€ 337.52|
|Based on 16,000km pa, four-hour charge for 240km range. Source: Uswitch|
100km for less than €4
Vehicle selection and driving style can have a substantial impact on electricity use as it does on fossil fuel demand. The consumption of electric cars, measured in kWh per 100km, depends on the make and model of car, with Energuide estimating that the cost in electricity per 100 kilometres is well below €4 (and even €3 for some vehicles).
Technology company The Mobility House, whose goal is to drive the transition to renewable energy, has calculated that the annual energy costs in Germany of a Hyundai IONIQ Elektro Trend would be about half of those of the comparable Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDI, based on electricity costs of €0.3 per kWh, a pump price of €1.5 per litre, and an annual distance of 15,000km.
|Hyundai IONIQ Elektro Trend||Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDI Trend DCT|
|Consumption per 100km||14.7kWh||5.2 litres|
|Energy/fuel consumption cost (15,000km per year)||€662||€1170|
Source: The Mobility House
There is more harmony in pricing for fleet drivers who rely on Europe’s fast-charging networks, such as IONITY. Here, prices are largely similar across Europe, although costs start to diverge if drivers access the charge points via other netowrks, such as those offered by BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and the Volkswagen Group.
IONITY recharging tariffs
|High Power Charging - up to 350 kW||Multi Charger - up to 50 kW|
|Austria||0.79 EUR / kWh||0.49 EUR / kWh|
|Belgium||0.79 EUR / kWh||0.49 EUR / kWh|
|Croatia||6.20 HRK / kWh||---|
|Czech Republic||21.00 CZK / kWh||---|
|Denmark||6.20 DKK / kWh||---|
|Estonia||0.79 EUR / kWh||---|
|Finland||0.79 EUR / min||---|
|France||0.79 EUR / min||0.39 EUR / min|
|Germany||0.77 EUR / kWh||---|
|Hungary||280 HUF / kWh||---|
|Ireland||0.79 EUR / kWh||---|
|Italy||0.79 EUR / kWh||0.49 EUR / kWh|
|Latvia||0.79 EUR / kWh||---|
|Lithuania||0.79 EUR / kWh||---|
|Netherlands||0.79 EUR / kWh||0.49 EUR / kWh|
|Norway||8.40 NOK / kWh||---|
|Poland||3.50 PLN / kWh||---|
|Slovakia||0.79 EUR / kWh||---|
|Slovenia||0.79 EUR / kWh||---|
|Spain||0.79 EUR / kWh||---|
|Sweden||8.70 SEK / kWh||---|
|Switzerland||0.79 CHF / kWh||---|
|United Kingdom||0.69 GBP / kWh||---|
|All prices include local VAT. The price for Germany includes the reduced VAT rate of 16% which is valid from July 1, 2020 until December 31, 2020.|
But for drivers who plug in their cars at home, domestic electricity prices have a wide spread across the continent.
Domestic electricity prices, second half 2019
|Country||Price € per kWh inc. VAT and taxes|
This variation in electricity costs has strong echoes of the broad range of diesel pump prices from country to country, where the opportunity for fleets to recover VAT and fuel duty for business miles further distorts the situation internationally.
Diesel pump prices per litre
|Country||Diesel price per litre|
|4||United Kingdom||€ 1.32|
|21||Czech Republic||€ 1.00|
Fleet cost management
The conclusion to this confusing picture is that fleet managers will still have to closely manage ‘fuel’ costs as their vehicles transition to electric power. While recharging batteries is considerably cheaper across Europe than filling a fuel tank with diesel, the efficiency of different vehicles, the charge points that drivers select and the individual driving styles of employees all have a significant impact on electricity bills.
As a result, data on business miles driven, driver fuel consumption and the charge point price of power will be critically important for cost-conscious businesses, although encouraging drivers to charge their vehicles at home looks set to remain the cheapest solution.