Ben Watts is another EV owner to take advantage of EDF Energy’s home charging package

Switching to an electric car has meant big cost savings on his regular commutes in to London

By on March 19, 2012 6:18 AM

Ben Watts is the Director of a television company and has been driving a Nissan LEAF electric car since September 2011. The 35-year-old had a dedicated 16amp home charging unit installed by EDF Energy.

“I’ve got an integrated garage so the electricity goes to there and the car is parked outside the garage, so it’s relatively straightforward,” says Ben. “There’s a separate box in the garage but the actual charging point itself is on the outside of the garage. Before they installed it, EDF Energy made sure that there was somewhere they could put the charging point that the car would reach.”

Ben covers up to 700 miles a month in his LEAF, with regular trips into London – he reckons that switching to an electric car is saving him a lot of money.

“I work sometimes in London but I also work from home,” he explains. “And when I work in London I typically have to bring in big files and it’s not really convenient for me to use public transport. And I found the train costs kept going up and up and up so I was driving in a lot more. But obviously with the congestion charge, parking, petrol, it was coming to an awful lot. The LEAF has reduced my outgoings on travel by quite a considerable amount.”

Ben, a trained accountant, keeps a close eye on what the LEAF’s electricity is costing him. “EDF Energy sends me a statement each month on how much I’ve used. To be honest, I don’t pay much attention to the individual stats, it’s just the money that I pay attention to. The average bill is between £21 and £30 per month.

“Also, the place I go into is Westminster and they give four hours free parking for electric vehicles, and you just have to move your car every four hours and its free.”

Ben says he does "pretty well all" the charging he needs to at home. He never runs the battery down to zero and reckons that about six and a half hours gives him a full charge. And he really puts the LEAF through its paces.

"EDF Energy sends me a statement each month on how much I’ve used. The average bill is between £21 and £30 per month."

“If I charge it up and just tootle around town, it will indicate a range of 100-odd miles, but that’s only if you’re going 40mph or so,” he says. “But as I use the M1 and travel at 70mph, the range does reduce quite considerably. With the journey I do which is A-roads, M1 and 40mph areas, the range comes down to about 65 miles, which is the true range for my use.”

And while Ben does virtually all of his charging at home, he is still a fervent supporter of public charging points. “If I were to identify one area where there could be improvement it would be quick charging points in places like service stations on the motorway,” says Ben.

“My family are up in Shrewsbury in the West Midlands and if there were charging points in service stations in, say, Milton Keynes I would be able to quick charge and get up there.” At the moment, Ben also has a petrol car for such journeys.

“And while there is infrastructure within London, the chances of you finding an empty bay that you can use to charge up, well, you could spend ages travelling around using up the energy you do have just trying to find one available.

“It would be far more useful in my opinion to have quick charging points in shopping centres like Brent Cross or service stations so that if you were running low you could pop in and have a coffee and then be off again. That for me is where the missing bit of infrastructure is.”

To speak with EDF Energy about EcoRecharge and its dedicated EV tariff Eco20:20, email You can also find out more at

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