Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more popular as a viable alternative to traditional gas-powered cars. With EVs, drivers enjoy the benefits of reduced emissions and lower fuel costs over time. However, many EV owners don’t realise that you can save even more money on your energy bills by taking advantage of certain strategies for charging your EV.
In this article, we’ll discuss how you can save money on EV charging with government grants, time-of-use rates, scheduled charging times and other tactics. Following these tips, you can maximise your savings and enjoy all the perks of owning an electric car.
Can You Save Money on Your Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Costs?
While it won’t happen on its own, you can find ways to save money on EV charging costs with a little strategy. Charging at home using your own electricity will be evident in your electric bill.
However, you can still charge at home and save a few dollars by understanding things like time-of-use rates and timing your charging to work in your favour financially. You can also take advantage of free charging options available elsewhere, such as your work, hotels, and more.
If you want to minimise the costs associated with owning an EV in general, connecting it to solar-powered generators or batteries can essentially allow you to produce free energy from the sun that you can use without paying an extra dollar on your electric bill.
Take Advantage of Government Grants for Installation Costs
In Ireland, EV owners are eligible for government grants to help cover installation costs for their EV charging systems.
The Electric Vehicle Home Charger Grant, funded by the government, allows you to claim up to €600 euros for buying and installing a home charger. But you need to hire a Safe Electric Registered Electrical Contractor or you won’t receive the benefits.
There are certain eligibility criteria that you must meet to access the grant. The car can’t be parked on the street, and the charger must be connected to your house. It must be the first time that your house is associated with this type of grant.
If you’re considered eligible, you’ll receive a Letter of Offer. Don’t start any work before the start date on the Letter or you won’t receive any benefits. You’ll have six months to begin the installation starting from the date on the Letter.
If you’re considering purchasing an EV charging station for your home or have already bought one, check to see if you qualify for grants to cut costs.
Understand Time-of-Use Rates
Many electric companies offer TOU (time-of-use) plans for customers that provide lower prices during off-peak hours. Depending on where you live, these rates can be incredibly cost-effective and save you significant money each month.
For example, charging (or using electricity in general) during peak hours will come at a higher cost than using electricity during windows of low use. In most areas, you can find much better time-of-use rates late at night and early in the morning. The most expensive time-of-use rates are typically in the evening, from 4-8 pm.
You can significantly reduce your electric bill by taking advantage of the lower rates offered in TOU plans. You can also use a timer with your EV charger to ensure that it only charges during the most cost-effective hours.
Schedule Your EV Charger to Take Advantage of Off-Peak Hours
If you have an adjustable charging schedule, consider taking advantage of the off-peak hours when electricity rates are the lowest. Most EVs come with either a built-in timer or one that can be purchased separately to control when it charges.
Some EV owners will set their chargers to start at 8 pm and finish by 8 am the next day to take advantage of cheaper rates during off-peak hours. This timely strategy is a perfect example of how to make charging your EV work for you and save you money. It costs you nothing and requires no extra effort; it’s just about being intentional.
You should also consider programming your charger to turn off when your battery is full to avoid excessive charging and ensure you’re not wasting energy or money.
Check the Weather to Take Advantage of High Solar and Wind Energy Output
If you live in an area with sunny days and high wind speeds, it makes sense to charge your EV during those times since electricity costs are lower. Additionally, when the weather is good, and energy production from renewable sources like solar and wind are higher, grid operators usually offer more competitive rates.
Taking advantage of these moments can help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint by using renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels to power your EV.
You can also look at this tip from another perspective. Rather than rely on your electric company to cut your rates during these opportunities, you could take back your energy independence and start generating your energy for free from the sun.
After you pay off the upfront cost of a rooftop solar system, you can use it (when paired with a battery) to charge your EV and the rest of your home. Then, focus on charging when your home is experiencing high solar output to take advantage of what you have.
If Possible, Take Advantage of EV Chargers at Work
If you have the option to charge your EV at work, take it. You won’t have to worry about scheduling your charging and can plug it in whenever it’s convenient (AKA on your way into the office).
In some cases, employers may even offer to cover the cost of charging as an employee benefit. The benefit is twofold; employers get to show that they care about their team’s well-being, and employees can save money on EV charging costs.
Incentives like this also encourage more workers to invest in electric vehicles since they know their charging costs will be mitigated through work.
Seek Out Free Charging Stations
In some cases, you may find free EV charging stations. These are typically located in public places and available for anyone with an EV. There are a few tools that make this easier. with Plugshare, you can find free EV chargers anywhere you are, including banks, grocery stores, government buildings, car dealerships, and more.
If you’re travelling, it’s worth researching whether local businesses offer free or discounted charging rates. For example, many hotels offer their guests free EV charging as a perk of being a guest.
Keep an eye out for Volta chargers in popular commercial areas. Rather than making the consumer pay for the electricity used to charge their EV, Volta makes businesses pay to install the chargers in the first place. It’s an incentive for business owners to get more EV customers in and for consumers to go to/use that business.
Managing Your Charging Schedule While Away From Home
If you’re away from home for extended periods, it may be difficult to adjust your charging schedule manually. Fortunately, there are some smart chargers out there that allow you to manage your charging schedule remotely.
You can adjust your settings to trigger your EV to start charging when electricity rates are lowest or pause when they’re too high. You could also set up a timer to start or stop charging when needed most.
If the issue is charging your electric vehicle while on the road, lean on the charging station map apps shared above to map out a route where you’ll be covered with charging options so you won’t need to worry about running out. You can also try to plan your trip around your charging needs.
For example, try to make a reservation at a hotel that offers free EV charging for guests or set up a meeting at a commercial location with free chargers in the parking lot. Finding ways to weave your charging needs seamlessly into your lifestyle without major interruption is the goal.
Overall, there are plenty of ways to save money on EV charging costs. The first way is by collecting any government grants that reduce the cost of installing home charging.
Then, by understanding the various time-of-use rates available and scheduling your EV charger to take advantage of off-peak hours, you can cut down on your costs each time you charge at home.
When not charging at home, use maps and subscription services to find free or discounted charging options. Many businesses offer free charging for customers (potentially including your place of work), so try to plan trips around these locations and take advantage of any free charge you can get.
While each of these tips will help you shave a bit off the cost of charging your EV, combining them all is the best way to maximise your savings.