Councils across the UK have spent more than £7.2m on charging points for electric cars over the last three years.
But many are not being used, with one in six councils having at least one point not used once at all over the past year, the BBC found.
And less than a third of authorities have a charging point being used on average more than once a week, more than half of which are used solely by council vehicles.
BBC Radio 4's You and Yours found that council spending amounts to £1,750 per electric car.
Answers to Freedom of Information requests from 91% of councils in the UK revealed that 139 had spent £7.21m on charging points between them since April 2010.
Twenty-five of the councils (18%) said that they had at least one point that was not used at all between April 2012 and April 2013, while 41(29%) councils had a point used more than 52 times over the same 12 months, the BBC said.
Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency show there are 4,100 electric cars in the UK.
In February the Government announced an extra £37 million to offset the cost of installing infrastructure for recharging electric vehicles, which will be made available to hospitals, local authorities and train operators to provide charging points.